The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rejection x3 (and moving on...)

I wanted to make this say to the third power, because emotionally it feels exponential, but I couldn't figure out how to make blogger do superscript.

Since May, I have auditioned for three different musicals. Each audition has been better than the last. The most recent audition I felt really, really good about, and I was only auditioning for an ensemble role (the show didn't have any female roles I would fit) but I still didn't get a part. I took this pretty hard. You would think the rejection thing would get easier... but it doesn't.

I was talking about it with my mom and she said, "You have achieved so much, I don't know why it is that it seems you always feel like it isn't enough."  But that's just it... I KNOW I have achieved so much. This isn't about achieving.  I don't want to act again to accomplish something. It is exactly the opposite.

I feel like I have spent the past eight years just working hard to accomplish things -- becoming a mom (yes, I see this as an achievement -- becoming a mom is different from "having kids"), graduating college, getting a teaching credential, establishing myself as a teacher, becoming a drama teacher and really learning to direct (I sometimes still feel like I don't really know what I am doing in this area, but I get more confident with every show), getting a Master's degree, supporting my husband in his youth ministry career, being a youth leader myself, etc. All of this stuff is incredibly meaningful to me, but really hard work.  While acting is hard work too... it doesn't feel like work. It feels like recreation because it is so satisfying and so much fun and I just derive so much pleasure from performing. I feel like I am ready to and have earned the right to turn to a new chapter in my life. Chapter "My 20s" has been all about working to achieve my goals. I'm just hoping that Chapter "My 30s" will be include (among other things) me doing some things I enjoy, and acting is one of the things I enjoy most in life.

Although my mom assures me I am wrong about this, I am starting to feel like the time I have lost is a big deal, like that the reason I am not getting callbacks is because I have not been on stage in seven years. Worse than that... I am pretty limited in the things I can audition for because I can't really dance. I mean, I definitely have the ability to learn simple choreography and movement, and I do not have two left feet, but I haven't had any formal dance training since I was like 8 years old. I am not a trained dancer. It takes me a LONG time to pick up new dance moves. I took a couple of beginning jazz classes in January and found them really challening. Not impossible, but definitely challenging. Can an old dog really learn new tricks?  Is it worth returning to the beginning jazz class? There will always be so many people so much better than me, it kind of makes me feel like... why bother?

But if I don't learn to dance better, then I can't really audition for any musical that involves dancing (well, I could audition, but I wouldn't be likely to get a part), and a lot of musicals involve dancing.

Unfortunately, this really is the end of the audition season for me, as there aren't really any local shows coming up really soon that I haven't auditioned for, and the next round of auditions are for shows that go into November, and I can't really be in a show that goes into November because my students' show for the fall is in November and I need to be available for tech week and performances for them. (We are producing a children's theatre production of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing this fall). So, I guess I will wait until November to start auditioning for winter shows. There are a few good ones coming up, but most of them do involve dance, so it is back to dance class for me. Sigh.

Vinny's Theatre Endeavors...
And then there is Vinny, who has also been auditioning and hoping for a community theatre production to get involved in. His dance auditions haven't gone very well (although he has improved, as he has taken dance classes over the past year), and his voice is pitchy.  It is a crapshoot whether he will hit the right notes or not in his audition pieces. As his summer camp wraps up, he is eager to know what is next.  Last year, we paid for musical theatre workshops that ended in shows (Sound of Music and Peter Pan), as well as dance classes (a lot of them).  I'd say we spent around $2000-$3000 on his artistic development over the course of first grade. We really cannot afford to do that again.  My student loans are coming due and we are also making a valiant effort to pay off credit card debt.  He cannot do multiple things like that this year. I started talking to him about it last night and that was an interesting conversation.

There are several community chorus groups that are holding auditions next month, and I encouraged him to get involved in those. The membership fees are really reasonable (like $300 for the entire year) and I think it would help his singing and improve his chances of getting a part in a community theatre show.  Or he could do more dance classes, which would also help him with theatre. His problem with both of these?  They are mostly girls. In his words, "I want to take a dance class where it is all boys." Well, they only have those for hip hop, but he needs to learn stuff like tap and jazz.  And dance just isn't as popular with boys. Vinny totally doesn't understand this.  I tried explaining it to him last night.

"Vinny, most boys your age are in baseball and basketball and football and stuff like that. Not dance. That's why it is mostly girls in the dance classes."
"I don't EVER want to do baseball or basketball or football!"
"I know that. I'm not saying you should. I'm just saying... Would you rather be at practice or rehearsal?"
"Well, you are unique in that way. Until you are much, much older, like an adult, you are going to be one of just a handful of boys or the only boy, and that's just how it is. You need to just get used to it."

I wish he could understand that this actually makes him very lucky because he will have WAY less competition, even as an adult.  Even the local theatre groups I have auditioned for end up posting notices after auditions that they are still looking for more men.  The professional theatre world is competitive for males, but not really the community theatre world. And as a high school teacher, I have frequently had to double the male parts or turn some into female parts. So, Vinny is lucky to have so little competition. He just doesn't see that yet.

In the meantime, he has requested that he be able to do just theatre stuff right now, not dance classes (although he hasn't completely ruled out chorus, so we will see). I want to find a better one than the ones he did last year. They have moved farther away and they always have like 300 people in each show. I just don't think he learns that much when he cannot get personal attention from the director. I'd rather he do a program that has less kids.  I have begun my search and I have found a few... I just hope we can find a good one that won't totally break our budget. Sigh.

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