Reading Loud and Clear


Hey! I've got work for you, Jeff!

Awesome! I love work! When are auditions?

You don't even have to audition!

I don't? That's unusual, but far be it from me to complain. I mean, I have been at this professionally for over a decade, and there's a few places for people to see my existing work. Plus, maybe a decade in New York solidifies your reputation with enough people who matter that you can be taken on recommendation. Sweet. What does it pay?

It doesn't pay.

Oh. Erm. It doesn't?

No. Are you so rude as to demand payment?

No! I mean: No. I'm not "so rude." It's a pretty reasonable question, I think, where my time is involved.

But it'll be fun.

I'm sure it will, yes. But, you see, I can have fun for myself. I don't need other's help for that, necessarily. And if I do, I have friends that fit the bill nicely and generally want to do -- if not exactly -- approximately the same things I want to do. So, you see, I'm doing okay on "fun."

Are you working on anything right now, acting-wise?

Well ... that's a complex question. I mean, I have auditions coming up. And I need to get my headshots to a new agency I'm freelancing with. And I've got a sort of film outline I'm in the process of writing for myself. And I help develop plays over at NYU, working with student playwrights and professional directors and actors. And I read plays. All the time. Plays, plays plays, nothin' but . . . okay. I have no show.

Well, we provide meals.

Oh! It's a film. Great; you should have said. I badly need reel material. That'll be worth it.

It's not a film.

Oh.

But there'll be very little time commitment.

Okay...

And it's local.

It's work here? In New York? Something people who make a difference to my future work could conceivably see?

Sure.

Well okay. That sounds ... doable.

Great. We'll see you at 7:00 on Tuesday.

Seven o'clock Tuesday? Don't I even read it first?

Read what?

The thing! The thing we're doing, whatever it is!

Oh. Well, you can, but there might not be much point.

Not much point? What is this?

I just mean it's subject to drastic change, the play.

The play I'd be working on might change drastically while I'm working on it?

Yes. Potentially overnight.

Wait a minute, wait a minute. Non-paying local work I don't have to audition for, with a short rehearsal time, that's not a film, that's subject to change in its entirety the night before we perform, and you're offering me food as payment? This ... this is a staged reading, isn't it?

How did you know?

*&^$! (_*& (%^$#, ^%$# *%^#! A staged reading! Always with the staged readings! I swear to God, if I never stand behind another school-band music stand or sit on another backless stool again, it would be too soon! I love it! Do tell: Will it be just us, and the playwright, all at a table or in the basement or both, somewhere, poring over each line while the playwright moans at our delivery? Or will it be for a large audience of everyone else's peers, where I will be the only stranger, and all the bits everyone finds funny I have no idea about because I don't hang out at the same water cooler? Or, OR, will it be for a Producer, a backing audition, and, well, I'm not really right for the part, owing to some minor detail like being twice the age of the character, but just maybe the Producer will be producing some other project and see me and think, "Eureka!" Oo! Can I actually hold my script while I act, allowing me to turn toward the person I'm speaking and move my body as I like, or will that break "the style," so I should leave that script ON that music stand, not even daring to lift it when I turn pages? Tell me, do: Will I be supplying my own costume? Will I be paying for the privilege of traveling to the rehearsal(s) and "performance"? Should I get a haircut for this one night? Or is it taking place in the middle of the day, and I should get my fingers and toes shined, too?

So, you don't want to do it?

Of course I don't.

We're serving wine.

I'll see you Tuesday.
 
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