5 People You’ll Meet in Hell, Where Hell is an Audition Holding Room

Audition season is descending upon us, and for actors that means miserable hours spent in the hellscape known as the audition holding room. For you non-actors, holding rooms are where you check in and wait to perform your monologue for a panel of people who then get to judge you on your looks, your personality, your character, your weight, your ancestry, etc. Holding rooms are anxiety-riddled creations of the devil, but that’s no excuse for their inhabitants to exhibit the bad etiquette that we’re about to call out and publicly shame here today. Here are the five poorly behaved people you’ll meet in hell, where hell is an audition holding room.

  • Break-Legs-Ladies Girl. Don’t be fooled by her cheerful tone and well wishes. “Break legs, ladies” girl is coming from a place of unadulterated hatred for you and a deeply rooted desire for you to fail. She’s saying “Break legs, ladies,” but what she means is “Eat shit, bitches.” And personally, I’d rather she just say that. I’d rather she go down the line of her competitors like it’s a rec league soccer game, hitting each of their hands saying, “Eat shit bitch eat shit bitch eat shit bitch eat shit bitch eat shit bitch.” At least that’s honest! Look, we all know it’s a weird situation. Part of our job is to sit in a room full of our competitors on a regular basis. It’s UNCOMFORTABLE. Just cut the phoniness. Zip it and honor the weirdness, imho. Make space for it. Smile if you must, but mostly mind your own damn beeswax and get out of there!
  • The Warmer Upper. The warmer upper is most certainly NOT minding her own damn beeswax. She’s pacing manically, singing scales and reciting lines at full volume, asking the proctor annoying questions to prove she’s done this before (“Should I be slating?” “What will my frame be?” “Is there a chair?” Dude, yes, there’s always a fucking chair). She doesn’t care that she’s being loud, she doesn’t care that the holding room is a communal place for everyone to be in their own headspace. She cares about showing everyone she’s the most experienced and prepared, which of course she isn’t because it’s like, if you’re so prepared, why are you preparing right now, you know?
  • That-Was-So-Fun Girl. This is a phenomenon wherein an actress comes out of the audition room and squeals something along the lines of, “Eee, that was so fun!” As if to say to her competitors, “Oh, really, you’ve been stressing about this audition all week? That’s funny, acting is so casual for me, I just go in and don’t even have to try!” Uggghhhh. If you say “that was so fun!” on your way out of an audition room, I expect there to be a water slide on the other side of the door where I climb to the top and the auditors hand me a puppy to slide down with into a pool of cocaine at the bottom. Auditioning is not “so fun.” If you don’t hate acting with every ounce of your being and curse God every day that She didn’t give you a single other talent/passion, then I’m not really interested, because you’re not honest and your acting probably isn’t either. This move hinges on trying to make the other actors believe that you don’t even have to try, and here’s a little secret for you: it’s okay to try. It’s okay to try really, really hard and place value on the thing you’re going in for. If this is your career, you should try really, really hard and place value on the thing you’re going in for. That-Was-So-Fun Girl, you and your shitty head games are transparent. You’re making people feel bad and what’s worse, you’re a hack. We see you and we’re calling you out!
  • Blair Witch, thusly named because she’s facing the corner Blair Witch style, her eyes are closed and she’s got headphones in, zenned out to “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten or whatever the fuck. She’s the antithesis of the warmer upper but somehow just as bad. Where the warmer upper is all up in the communal headspace, Blair Witch is all up in her OWN headspace and it’s even more pretentious. She’s getting into character. She’s inviting her character in to inhabit her body. She’s getting ready to walk with her character, who, by the way, is most likely Catherine from David Auburn’s Proof. She’s going on a vision quest to prepare for the “I lived with him” monologue from motherfucking Proof. That’s all I have to say about Blair Witch, but if the “I lived with him” monologue from Proof is your audition piece, please see me after class.
  • Child Actor. Child actors are actually a ray of light in the audition holding room. It’s the parents who are the problem. Child actors’ parents have always packed them a bafflingly large kit full of supplies that makes you wonder what could possibly be lurking in its depths. How much Chapstick and Go-Gurt can one kid require? And they’re always hovering over their kid, obsessively quizzing them on lines and on manners for when they get in the room. A few weeks ago I was in a holding room with a ten-year-old kid whose mom was spoon-feeding him oatmeal. Are you kidding? You think a ten-year-old wants to sit in a room of weird ass adults talking to themselves and be fed oatmeal by his overbearing mom? He wants to be watching internet porn and eating refined sugar like a normal fucking kid. And you know what, Grayson*? So do I. Corolla’s waiting outside, you little gluten-free weirdo, let’s get out of here. Fuck Break-Legs-Ladies Girl and the Warmer Upper and That-Was-So-Fun-Girl and the Blair Witch. Let’s get some Ho Hos and I’ll show you how to blaze.

*Every child actor is named Grayson.

If you have any audition holding rooms you’d like to invite me to, or if you know of any other bad holding room behaviors, or if you do any of these bad behaviors and you wanna defend yourself, get at me @jdelwoo on Twitter/Insta/Snap, or at jmdelois@gmail.com.

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