By Jill Koskitalo
A couple of weeks ago I decided to put myself into an incredibly vulnerable position. This mild-mannered journalism student went on audition. I waited in line for two hours to bare my soul — good grief, I sang in front of a group of complete strangers. And I didn’t even get the part.
But I loved every minute of it.
This most recent experience was for the privilege of working in one of the stage shows at Canada’s Wonderland (damned if I’ll add the word “Paramount.” The people at the Hummingbird Centre can kiss my ass too). I originally wanted an acting role but alas, I’m three inches too short to be a Klingon. Such is showbusiness. So I dusted off a couple of my standard songs and joined hundreds of other hopefuls competing for the right to sing “I Will Survive” to a half-full audience six times a day.
Ever since grade three, when I had my first starring role in a collection of nursery rhymes, I have loved theatre. I adore getting up on stage and making a complete fool out of myself. So what am I doing in journalism? It’s simple, really — if I was trying to eke out a living on stage, it just wouldn’t be fun anymore.
It takes a very special person to be able to handle the life of a professional actor. It’s a tough business and demands rock-solid self esteem. Imagine the rounds of auditions, the cattle calls where hundreds, maybe thousands, of people all want the same job you do. I can’t handle that and I admire those who can. Turning professional would mean a whole new set of stresses that could take all the joy out of performing for me. When I act, it’s for fun. I’m more into community theatre and the odd job in children’s entertainment — this is enough. I know that at the end of the day if I don’t go home with the role, it’s not going to affect the rent cheque.
Despite my best intentions, and a fabulous performance, I didn’t get a call back. And that’s OK. I learned a bit and did a damn fine job and there’s always another role waiting in my wings.
I’ve seen so many people, especially teenagers, become absolutely devastated to the point of tears when they don’t get a role. If something hurts that much, why would you do it? There are so many places to act without having to put yourself through the rigours of the professional circuit. Perhaps there are actors out there who will pooh-pooh this point of view and claim if I was a “real” actor I’d see things differently. Well fine, look down your nose job at me. I’ll be over at the community play house, having fun.