First posted by Polly McKie on Monday, March 25, 2013
With so little to be sure of, if there’s anything at all?
Why go to an E.P.A.? I am non-union: why bother? I won’t be seen: why bother? It’s the Equity required call: why bother? It’s already cast: why bother? They don’t need replacements: why bother? They are only looking for understudies or replacements: why bother?
I went to my first E.P.A. (Equity Principal Audition) thanks to Amanda Quaid. She was my first speech and dialect teacher here in the U.S. (I’m thrilled to say that she has become my friend). She is a wonderful actress and knows what it is like to be a non-union actor starting out. She sent me a casting notice and showed me the A.E.A.website and casting calls. It might seem like a small thing but it was a major step for me. I see so many actors who avoid actually going and it seems to me that the main reason is fear of the unknown. It’s terrifying. But, thanks to Amanda’s persuasion, I went. I felt ill. I drank so much water, I think I might have developed a camel hump. (I was lucky that this first experience was at Telsey, so I was allowed to use the facilities.) I knew nothing. I thought everyone was staring at me and judging me and, worst of all, laughing at me. But I went. I found the monitor and I signed my name on the non-equity list. And nobody laughed. Nobody pointed. So far, so good. I sat and waited. I watched. I learned. I went from 8a.m. and hoping that I would not be seen (out of fear) to feeling devastated when I heard the announcement at about 11a.m. that they would not be seeing non-Equity. So I left with that little nugget of disappointment but skipping (not literally: that’s not a pretty sight) that I had achieved something. I showed up.
Fast forward (after many more E.P.A.s: new fears and new experiences and dealing with not being able to use the bathrooms at A.E.A.) to a snowy day in February, 2011. I forced myself out the door and went to A.E.A. There was snow lying on the ground, so I donned my lovely bright pink wellington boots and packed my shoes into my bag, careful not to squash my headshots and resumes. I trudged crosstown and sat on the wooden benches all day and used the McDonald’s facilities. At 4.30, I was invited into the lounge and was seen! Woohoo. It was fine. I did my work but I was not feeling that anything would come of it. I left and was about to go and grab that well-deserved post audition/I have been working hard all day/sitting on wooden benches since 7a.m. cocktail and I thought, “Well, I’m already out and close. Maybe I should just head to that other call at Pearl (they were seeing Equity and non but it was almost 5p.m.) and check if the call is still open.” (this is before I discovered the wonders of Audition Update) I put my pink wellies (a.k.a. rain boots) back on and walked through the snow. The place was dead. No-one in the holding room and the lights were off. I passed the actual audition room and saw the panel (the wonderful director Elliot Wasserman at New Harmony) laughing and joking behind the desk. I sneaked my head around the door and said “Are you still seeing people?”. I was told to wait outside. A couple of other actors turned up and told me they had appointments. Five minutes later, I was inside performing my monologue, then working on sides, then working on a New York dialect and a speech impediment. I had a wonderful time. I loved them straight away. It was clear the director knew what he was doing and no matter what, I felt I had achieved so much that day. I showed up.
So why go to an audition?
I booked the job and became E.M.C.
|with Claire Warden in “Lost in Yonkers” at New Harmony Theatre.|