Things Men Have Said While Auditioning For Me
“Oh, you’re a woman…uh…maybe I should do something…else? I didn’t know!”
I’m the Artistic Director of a large sketch comedy company. Also I’m a woman. Also the Executive Director is a woman. Each year we work with around 100 actors, writers, directors, choreographers, vocal coaches, stage managers, and others.
In order to fill out our season, and to be sure we’re doing our due diligence, we hold two auditions each year: one invited callback, and one VERY open general audition.
The best thing about the open auditions for a comedy company are the bizarre range of performances we see over the course of a couple of days — an actor dressed in Christmas tree drag, a Little Mermaid parody complete with shell bra and boombox, unicorn clowns, etc. It’s mostly great. I love seeing people really go for it, bringing their weird selves into the room and letting loose. And then also some of them are weird about auditioning for two women. That is so boring. I can’t tell you how boring that is (but I’ll try) I’m bored just thinking about it.
A Sampling Of Things Men Have Said While Auditioning For Me And What I Was Thinking:
Actor 1 — “Oh my god. Um. Okay, I’m sorry…I hope you’re not going to be offended by my monologue. I didn’t know…you were women. Um. Okay. Sorry sorry. Oh my god. Okay. Sorry. Please don’t be upset. Okay. I wrote this, well some of it. It’s not done. You’re probably going to be pretty offended though.”
My Brain — “I wish I were eating a whole chicken right now.”
Actor 2 — “Uhhhhhhhhh in this part I usually would say something referencing the man in the room but there isn’t one…so, it’s not really going to make sense.”
My Brain — “I wonder what happened to the green shirt I let that irresponsible woman borrow in 2002.”
Actor 3 — *rape joke*
My Brain — “If I try hard enough, can I turn myself into a tornado of snakes? If I did, could I still have hair?”
Actor 4 — *rapey monologue*
My Brain — “And this is why I do this, you know? My god, the artful way he hammers that rapey monologue into the ground is really, like, my calling. What if this person were a deviled egg instead of a person?”
Actor 5 — “Oh wow, it’s run by two women? Good for you! Wow, that’s crazy! Wild!”
My Brain — “Yes. Yes. Good for me. Yes. It is, in fact, crazy. How long until I get a treat? Please tell me this is not the treat.”
There are essentially 4 types of reactions:
- BEING AN ACTUAL FUNCTIONING HUMAN PERSON WHO DOES NOT COMMENT ON MY GENDER AT AN AUDITION AND INSTEAD SPENDS THEIR TIME DOING THEIR BEST. YOU HAVE TWO MINUTES TO DO YOUR HA-HA. USE THEM APPROPRIATELY.
- Turning inside out because they know their audition material is about to be a nightmare but it’s the only stuff they know.
- Confidently delivering nightmare material because they actually have no problem with it.
- Congratulating us a liiiiittle too much for doing our jobs.
Although, I must say, it takes a lot of…confidence? Yes, let’s say confidence, to have assembled rape jokes for an audition. FOR AN AUDITION. FOR ANYONE, ANYWHERE. Just don’t. Ever. OR, do it as an awful test. So, like, if it goes over well, then you know the director is a trash person and you should leave. Good. Informative.
Thankfully, the number of people who come in and do their thing like a person would certainly outnumber those that choose to use their time for pointless fake apologizing or embarrassed explanations trying to excuse material they chose themselves. I would say almost everyone is surprised that the company is run by two women, which all by itself is boring: the shock and awe of it. I don’t know, it’s 2017, should people still be surprised we can do our jobs? Or are they more surprised that someone, somewhere, allowed us to do this in the first place? Or have I had spinach in my teeth this whole time and it’s really throwing everybody off?
Later this year we’ll do the whole thing again. And it’ll be mostly fun and heartening and I’ll be rooting for so many people and will laugh freely. Then some of these things will happen. And when they do, I will crack my knuckles, sip my latte, and swiftly draw a line through a name I wish never to hear or see again. Or maybe the world will be a utopia in a few months and it won’t happen! LOL
Final thought: Check the staff page, bro. You’ll see my pronoun throbbing away in my bio, nestled in the digital universe that is the company website.
I believe in you, kind of. Or I want to, anyway.