Being an introvert who has a huge undying love for the theater world is not a very easy thing to handle. Never the less, that is what I am, and I for one was the last person to expect it.
I'm a music junkie. I've been around music my whole life - and yes, everyone has but for me it's been a little more involved. From my dads music shop to my piano, vocal and viola lessons, it was hard to stay away from music, but never did I see myself getting into musicals. I was never one for the stage. Sure, I liked playing my instruments and being in choirs but those were with groups of people surrounding me, not by myself. So when I stepped foot into my first ever community theater show, I thought I would sit down in my assigned seat and watch the show. Maybe oogle over how amazing some of the vocals were, but never did I think it would turn into what it did.
My boyfriend just happened to work at the local theater where I saw my first show - The Addams Family. I had been there for a few rehearsals, sitting in the tech booth scrolling through Facebook or twitter, not paying to much attention to the production on stage. It was opening night and I didn't even think I would want to go after hearing the second act of the show over and over again - but that was the kicker. I had never seen the first act. I was drawn into the mystery of not knowing what lead to everything I had already seen.
So when he asked me to go, who was I to say no? After all it was his long hours spent at the sound and lighting board figuring out just what colors looked good behind the performers. I wanted to see his hard work in action, so I said what the heck? Why not go and have fun with the show.
I loved it. Okay, maybe loved would be an understatement - I became obsessed with it. I listened to the soundtrack day in and out - it never got old. I would belt along to it in my car, thinking to myself how badly I wanted to be Wednesday Addams, but I never thought I could get enough courage to go and be on stage. My boyfriend and I would use lines from the musical on each other as jokes and to show our love - it was our thing.
I have a horrible habit of self doubt. I think we all do, but mine is just awful. So when I had asked a couple of people the best way to get into theater and they told me to jump right in and audition, I honestly laughed at them. There was NO way - I wasn't as good as half of those guys who have been doing this since they found out they could sing. That was a big scary stage that I was just not ready to be on.
So what changed?
Friends. I was expressing about how uneasy I felt about jumping into an audition the way I was being told to do and a friend said to me, "I'll audition with you." I was shocked - why would she want to audition? She didn't even know the show. "Why does that matter? Theater is meant to be fun, it's meant to make you more comfortable with yourself. Let's do it. Let's audition." That right there, those few seconds it took her to say that is what made my mind change on auditioning. So we launched ourselves into finding the perfect audition song. Oh yeah, did I mention that we decided to audition the DAY before auditions? Probably wasn't the best idea.
Now that uneasy feeling was intensified by 100, so what helped me? Having support and telling myself it's okay if you mess up, it's not the end of the world. That is the biggest piece of advice I can give. It's okay! A director is more willing to work with someone who has talent and forgets the words over someone who can nail it but can't do it with as much passion as needed. When you have your first ever audition, having high hopes is okay, but you know what else is? Not getting a lead role, it's your first time auditioning, there is so much to the theater world that you may not know about and that is okay! Being in your first show is an experience - a big one, and it's a lot of work - so getting a small role is never a bad thing because every role has some significance to the musical. Whether big or small it's still a role.
You're probably thinking it's absurd right? Forgetting lines and still getting a part? Can't happen? Well it did. I walked out of my audition feeling like the biggest screw up in the world, but when I checked the theater's website a week later and saw my name next to a decently big role I was flabbergasted. After all I had screwed up? I had been shaking with nerves and forgetting words! How could this be?! They saw potential, because no matter how much you doubt yourself, you have potential. You have what it takes - you just have to convince yourself that you are good enough to be on that stage.
So before your first big audition, take some time, breathe. Sit in your car and sing along to your audition song. Give it as much passion as you can and remember to believe in yourself.
Gabbie is a psychology major, cat lover, and theater enthusiast. After acting in her first major production in December 2015, she has continued to pursue her love of performing and chasing her big, scary dreams. Gabbie tells us her stories of auditioning, rehearsing, singing to a big, intimidating crowd, and making friends along the way.
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