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Rejection: Audition Edition

Let’s talk Rejection: Audition edition.

It sucks.

You put your heart and soul into auditioning. You put your time and energy and money and psyche into auditioning. You put yourself out there to be judged, critiqued, scrutinized, and ultimately either rejected, or, preferably, chosen.

It’s exhausting. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, and not the cute, kiddie kind with a few gentle ups and downs and mildly fast turns. Oh no. The Intimidator, the Banshee, the Fury kind, where you are tossed upside down again and again, flung into the sky and then plunged to the ground. Basically, you get off and go throw up.

That’s auditioning in a nutshell.

I did it as basically my third job for almost a decade. And then I couldn’t take it anymore. I remember the audition that did me in. I was 32, I think, and I had an amazing audition for a major opera apprentice program- I sang three arias (3!) in their entirety and the auditioner TALKED TO ME. We had an actual conversation about my singing and career goals. This hardly ever happens. He clearly liked me. I was in the room for a half an hour; way more than the usual 5-10 minutes. I was elated. I danced out of the building.

I didn’t even get a callback.

I was devastated.

I was done.

In the opera world, if you haven’t gotten your foot in the door by your early 30s, it ain’t happening. I knew this. I was tired. I was worn out. I stopped.

Do I regret this? No, not really. My psyche needed a rest from the emotional and psychic toll of it all.

And I practically stopped singing altogether for a few years after that until I rediscovered my love of Musical Theatre. (But that’s a whole other blog post! )  I did get back on the audition ride in Oregon and I hope to again, but man, it does get easier, but it is never easy.

The whole process of auditioning is crazy-making. You have to be confident going in, otherwise, what’s the point? But then the Demon of Insecurity gets its claws into you. And the reality is, you never know why you do or don’t get a part. Sometimes the better person wins, but sometimes they don’t. Sometimes it’s who you know. Sometimes it’s what you look like. Sometimes it’s personal. Sometimes it isn’t. And the more we go down that rabbit hole, the worse off we are. It’s all part of the business. It isn’t math where if you add two plus two and get five you are clearly, demonstrably wrong. Whether you sing well, whether you embody the character, is in the ear and eye of the auditioners and totally out of your control.

So why do we put ourselves through this insanity? Because we love to sing, to perform, to be a part of the magic of theatre; making music and art with others. We must remind ourselves of the wildly subjective nature of the art form. And hope springs eternal for the next time…


See also:

Your Opinion is Not My Reality.

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