I stepped into the windowless, grey cube and thought, ‘Is this where the bright future of tomorrow is learning to fix the world? How depressing.’ But I wasn’t here to learn; I was here to audition for a low-budget university play. Though I may as well have been auditioning for the West End, for the amount of butterflies trying to escape my stomach.
Handing in my audition slip, I was thankful to see some familiar faces on the panel. Two members of the production team were acquaintances that I had spent many a-time at the pub, as most students do, shooting the shit until last orders. The third person I was unfamiliar with, however I had heard through whispers in the waiting room that he thought himself quite the ‘serious actor’ who was now trying his hand at directing.
“I shall have you know,” I began, “that my stage debut was quite critically acclaimed. My performance as ‘Icicle Number 5’ in my Year 4 teacher’s musical ‘Icicle Jack’ was revered by parents and students alike.”
Chuckles rumbled from across the panel, and even the Serious Actor managed to crack a smile.
He had a hand on his not-quite clean-shaven chin that was a hint of orange, contrasting to the chestnut strands neatly arranged at the top of his head. The luminescent strip lights of the room cast a shadow under his brow, making his eyes appear almost like two black hole in the night. Though he was smiling, it didn’t quite reach his eyes, and a faint furrow between his eyebrows carried an air of intrigue.
This man, the Serious Actor, carried his mystery like a badge of honour. But isn’t that what all actors want? To look intriguing, mysterious to the point where they are almost a blank canvas, ready to try on any hat, any character, and have you believe that they can be anyone they want to be?
“Good luck,” he said to me, and I didn’t know whether he meant my monologue, or the journey that was about to unfold for us.
This is part of my creative writing series, Shorts. This piece in particular was an assignment written for the Superlatively Rude Summer School: Don’t Be a Writer, Be a Storyteller (or, just #SRSummerSchool). In the coming weeks, I’ll be dropping some more pieces I wrote for that 6-week course — if you want to find out how to enroll onto future courses, go to Laura’s website or sign up to alerts here.
And of course, to catch up on my previous shorts, click here.