I had a realization this week involving the crossroads of perfectionism, who’s it for, and the stories we tell ourselves.
Sometimes, I go into an audition room with the audacity to think I know exactly what the people behind the table want, how they want me to be, and what they want me to do in the scenes before ever even asking them. I walk into these rooms preemptively apologizing for all of the things that I think I am not and that their vision is. I apologize ahead of time for everything I'm going to do incorrectly or be wrong about with my interpretation. I’m realizing this is simply crazy. How am I supposed to know what goes on in anyone else’s head before they tell me?
A few years ago, an agent in a class I was taking gave me some feedback. He told me that I was “aloof”, and I never really knew what he meant. But now, I think I know what he was getting at. It’s hard to tell who a person really is when they’re busy trying to be whatever they think someone wants them to be.
So often in my career thus far, I’ve tried to “behave like I should” or “not be difficult” or “do the sides exactly like the person who played this role before me” did them. AKA in my mind: Be PERFECT. But then I realized that I could just “Do you, Boo”. I could show up and do MY version of whatever it is and really lean into that, and if I’m right for that director’s vision, then I’ll be doing them a service by leaning into my ideas and showing them all of my colors. I might even illuminate a possibility they had never considered.
I know, I know, I know, we all know all of these things already, but working on an audition this week really helped me put it into perspective. I was working on a play with a well-known female character. A friend pointed out that my version of this character was really different than she had seen her played before. Mine was grounded and intriguing versus the usual flighty and dramatic. Well, I went into the audition, expressed my humanity unapologetically, and got some feedback from the director that they wanted me to be less grounded and more flighty. I did the scene again with the director’s vision in mind and got some compliments on "moving in the right direction" using their adjustment. Leaving the room, it felt so freeing to realize that just because I probably won’t end up booking that job at that theatre doesn’t equal me being terrible or unable to book that role somewhere else. I walked out of the room feeling confident about who I am and what I’m doing versus entering a shame spiral because of some made up story I’m telling myself about what not booking that job at that theatre means about me as an artist.
That audition realization launched me into another audition, and I walked in and f*cking crushed it because I owned who I am and what I do and didn’t ask for permission to do any of it. Was every note sung perfectly? No. Did I hit all of my beats? No. Did I do it exactly like I wanted to? Nah. But I left feeling like what I had just shown was a real representation of my potential, and if that person is interested in the ME that I let out of the bag last night, they’ll call. And if they don’t, someone else will.