23 January 2016

FEC Auditions

There's nothing like an audition notice to get the sluggish blood zinging in the aging actors' community. Word buzzes around FEC at meteor speed. Auditions to be held right here. Every inmate resident has been a film extra at the very least. Never mind television or stage parts ... casting for residual-paying commercials brings out the worst best in experienced and wannabe actors. FEC turns into a seething mass of paranoid competitors.

No-one admits they want this gig, would kill for it if they had the strength. "Elderly Woman" and "Elderly Man" are the free-floating requirements for the part. Only Ms Etoile, typically, can't contain her ambitions, blurting "Mine, MINE! This was made for me!"

The unsuspecting director turns up to find a tense swarm of sycophants in the waiting room. Anyone who ever met him or heard his name is greeting him like the Messiah. He wouldn't guess how early they crept here to be first in line, only to find Sally had stayed all night right next to the stage door. Fragrant Elayne is made up like a teenage tart. Mr OCD is humming pretentiously in his best Rigoletto poses. Bella swigs nervously from her vodka water bottle. Ophelia whips out a tray of brownies to press on the director under the withering glare of the gathering.

Jeremy clutches a shopping bag with a change of costume; he can't decide his best approach to the role, whatever it may be. There's Esme, we didn't even know she lived here; maybe she's doing a Joan Crawford imitation. George glares malevolently at the ceiling, incanting obscure curses. Even Gonzo waits, ignoring everyone ... maybe a little mental yoga going on there.

Auditions are private, of course. Although every word of Ms Etoile's throaty emoting can be heard beyond the closed doors. She introduced herself by bellowing it was not fair that more famous names always won the coveted parts and she is perfect for this ("Sweetheart, I can play any character you want!!"). At that, a few sneering glances are exchanged around the waiting room. Every time the doors open and the director calls "Next!" there's a surge of colliding bodies. "Let's be civilized, darlings," he says to the throng as he closes the door after someone.

Jiminy Crickets, the unofficial FEC photographer, is recording the would-be performers in their various states of nerves, trading daggers ...

Another feckless day in the life ...

© 2016 Brenda Dougall Merriman

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