Tuesday, October 10, 2017

I wish...

I wish...
More than anything...
More than life...
More than jewels*
With Chris Noth and Christopher McDonald

I moved to New York 9 years ago. To this day, I am asked where in Ireland I am from. Often not actually asked. There is Fedex guy who says "Top o' the morning'" to me and bursts into gales of laughter at his own wit.

One of the natural things that happened was people telling me, "You should get a job at Irish Rep." Because that how it works.  Chris Noth once told me I should be on Broadway.  He and my mother have that opinion in common.

It does NOT work like that!

I first went to The Irish Rep to see a play my teacher and friend Amanda Quaid was in. I collected my ticket at the Box Office and Charlotte Moore (The Artistic Director) was the one working behind the desk (one of the many things I love about the ethos of 
Irish Rep). When she heard me speak, she said "Oh where in the north are you from?" (Glaswegian is very similar to parts of Northern Ireland). I replied "Oh, I'm from Glasgow    but if it will get me a job here, I can pass for Irish!" The next day she had asked Amanda for my headshot and resume.

Mind you, at that time, I was an F1. A student. Even if I had been cast in something, I would not have been allowed to take the job. All those years ago, when I first moved here, though I had big dreams and also no clue about how difficult the whole Artist Visa/Actors' Equity situation would be.

I auditioned a couple of times for Irish Rep over the years but nothing was the right fit (or I messed it up).

Fast forward a few years: My Scottish friend Jennifer McVey (wonderful actress) texted me on the day of the Irish Rep E.P.A. to see if I was going. I was in a bad summer slump of depression of "I'll never work again". I could not go to the E.P.A. and was angry with myself. So I took action.

And you can't just sit here dreaming pretty dreams.
To wish and wait 
From day to day
Will never keep
The wolves away.*

I decided to bite the bullet and get in touch with Debby Brown. I had met Debby in previous auditions and kept in touch, inviting her to see "A Day by the Sea" at the Mint. She said some very kind things about my performance. I have been acting as my own representation for a few months now and I have to be brave. 

We've no time to sit and dither...
Into the woods without delay,
But careful not to lose the way.
Into the woods, who knows what may
Be lurking on the journey?

Into the woods to get the thing
That makes it worth the journeying.*

I emailed asking if I could audition for a role I thought I might be right for: 
"Mary Sweeney: 40’s A local woman. Shabbily dressed. Poverty and hunger have made her desperate. She is frantic to the point of despair for herself and her young family. Irish Accent." Right up my street!

L-R: Stephen Pilkington, Christopher Randolph, Polly McKie and John Windsor-Cunningham

Debby replied that she thought they had someone in mind for the role (often the case in this business) so I resigned myself to the disappointment of not even getting an audition. But then a few days later she said they didn't and gave me an appointment. I was so grateful and wanted to make sure I made a good impression at the audition. We're never just auditioning for one thing and, even if I did not book this, I wanted to be in their minds for future plays at Irish Rep. I'm also keenly aware that Casting Directors are relying on the actors they bring in to do their best work. I was brought straight to callbacks so the pressure was on to make sure Debby did not regret her decision! I had auditioned a few times for The Mint before I booked a dream job there last year. Patience and persistence are so important! And now I have another dream job at the glorious Irish Rep.

*"Into the Woods" from "Into the Woods"
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.