The above are two representations of what auditioning is like for the non-equity actress. Opencall holding rooms filled with masses of ladies with curling irons, hairspray, liquid eyeliner, vocal lip trills and humming. This period of Jan-March is when regional theatres are casting for their spring/summer season. DURING this time their are many things out of your control, which is why the things you CAN control, i.e. how prepared you are and what time you get there, you cherish. Your best strategy is to get there early enough that you’re seen in the first hour, or at least, before lunch, which often means getting there between 6a and 7a, and which, for ME and the others who live in the bowels of Brooklyn, means leaving at 5a. AND for those of us who are ladies, and need time for things like hair, and those of us who are humans who need time to make coffee and cereal, it means getting up at 4a.
There’s definitely this sense of non-eq actors needing to pay their dues: living in my very affordable apartment far away from everything in a not so great neighborhood, getting up at the crack of dawn, that’s just the way it’s gotta be for a little while and it’s okay. I just keep reminding myself: this is the job. This is the work. And you know, being in these holding rooms, I really don’t mind it. I always find someone who I know or who I haven’t seen in a while and get to catch up. AND, there’s the manic feeling of possibility. It’s hard not to be affected by everyone’s drive. AND I quite enjoy looking at everyone’s outfits and how ladies are doing their makeup. You look for little inspirations.
I like taking pictures of the holding rooms, because it is pretty crazy what we do. Who else goes on 100s of job interviews a year, but instead of a handful of people sitting on couches, hundreds sprawl around wherever you find space. But I also like putting a stamp on it. I was here, I got up early, put on eyeliner, and I found my space. There are many things you can’t control, but how prepared you are, how early you get there, and really, your outlook on the whole thing, are hopefully tools enough.