A few days ago I received an email from a former actor I had once directed. He’s directing now. The exchange went down like this:
He began by saying, “Howdy Glenn, I know you don’t prefer to act on stage, but I do believe it’s worthwhile reaching out to you again. I’d like you to consider auditioning for the role of Harold (the “father figure”) in the play Orphans that I am directing at Allways Theatre. Auditions are this Saturday afternoon. We start rehearsing right away, and open in mid-October through first week of November. Are you familiar with Orphans? Poignant, comic, and poetic. At the very least, I hope you’ll attend the play. But I do think you’d give a strong read as Harold. I need mature men with solid acting chops and emotional dexterity. Let me know your thoughts. hope you’re well. haven’t seen you in a minute. Ciao-ciao.”So today, this afternoon, there I was. For all the world, another loser. A former theatre director, fallen so low he was reduced to auditioning for acting roles. The humiliation was all-consuming.
I wrote back, “Would it be at all possible to borrow a copy of the script to read the whole thing? I looked at the sample on the Samuel French website and would like to see more. Thanks.”
“Not likely before the auditions on Saturday. Scripts are on order, might arrive by Friday. In the meantime, I have the only copy. And I need it. The sides will be a different scene, from Act 2, where you can see the fatherly influence that Harold assumes over the boys.”
“Well, I guess I can come and read. Can you put me down for a time in the latter part if the afternoon? I plan on seeing Reby at her birthday brunch that morning.”
“Thanks, Glenn. I’ll pass that info on to the producer. He’ll get back to you to confirm a time.”
I decided I couldn’t go through with it.
When nobody was around, I sidled up to the stage manager and whispered that I had to leave, couldn’t stay, had somewhere else to be, someone I had to check on, sorry, have to run. Have. To. Go!
And I was out, away, as though I’d never been.
And there was no one there to see this man dissolve into a dew except for that one poor kid who didn’t have an inkling he’d just witnessed an old enchanter break his staff and drown his book.