Sometimes our most humiliating situations are the ones that need sharing the most. They are the stories to be given to the world as a sacrifice, to be spread to the four corners of this earth to bring joy to the listener and mirth to the storyteller.
Tales of the most mortifying experiences should always be placed in the hands of cherished friends who will then pass them on to their friends, who will then tell their friends and so on, until someone’s friend of a friend tells you, the victim, and completes the sacrificial anecdotal circle.
This is what happened to me, my most humiliating story to date. I am writing this for the good of all mankind and to purge myself of the most horrific audition experience I have ever encountered. I’m laughing as I type… and crying on the inside.
Due to the classic lull in the theatrical world over summer, it has been a considerable amount of time since I have attended an audition and a much longer time since I have been asked to sing at one. Now, I am not giving myself any excuses for what occurred; I am merely painting a sympathetic background upon which you are to judge me.
Last Thursday, my agent called with an audition for a comedy sketch show, “Brilliant!” I thought, “I’m averagely funny and if all else fails I know I can tell a good fart joke, this will be grand!”
I was then told that it was in fact a musical comedy sketch show and that I was to prepare a short comedy song, in order to “show off my vocal range”.
Okay… Pause for thought… Vocal range… I am an alright singer at best, more confident in a group than flying solo but am always willing to give it a shot. So, fine. I’ll have a week to prepare, maybe get a few lessons to boost up the old confidence and crack on.
“It’s tomorrow.” She said.
“Ah.” I said.
My song of choice- ‘London Underground’ that wicked parody of the Jam’s song involving various satirical remarks about our public transport service and a plethora of profanities thrown in for good measure.
Just in case, I also decided to prepare a back-up song, (to the tune of My Bonny Lies Over The Ocean)
My one skin lies over my two skin,
My two skin lies over my three,
My three skin lies over my foreskin,
So pull back my foreskin for me.
Hilarious. I spent all night practicing and woke up early to do ye olde warm up (my housemates must LOVE me) and headed into town for the audition.
I got there fifteen minutes early like any sensible actor would and was quickly asked into the room. I walked into a big, black, empty space with a stage and five people on the panel. FIVE.
I instantly shat myself.
“Hi Laura, we’re going to start with your song, okay?”
“Okaaaay”, I trembled with the voice of a prepubescent boy. I took a deep breath and began…
“Some people like to get a train to work, or drive in a beamer… lalalala…”
My mind goes blank…
“I’m so sorry I've completely forgotten the words!”
“That’s okay”, they say… I know it’s not okay.
“That’s okay”, they say… I know it’s not okay.
“Why don’t you start again?”
“Sure… Some people like to lalalala… I’m so sorry it’s completely gone!”
This has NEVER happened to me in an audition before; I experienced the kind of panic fueled blank which I have only ever witnessed on ITV on a Saturday evening being judged by the nation… Except mine was worse.
“Okay”, they smile.
(I know it is still DEFINITELY not okay)
“Have you got another song?”
“Yes!” I grin with relief, thinking about the hilarity of my circumcision centred song and knowing that I could win them back with this sure fire hit.
What actually happened was this…
“Yes, I've got another song. It’s called ‘My One String’. I begin…
My one string lies over my two string,
My two string lies over my three,
My three string lies over my four string… FORESKIN!!!” I shout, “I meant to sing skin! FORESKIN! Because that’s the joke! FORESKIN IS FUNNY! Four strings are just four strings!”
The panel look down simultaneously all furiously studying their notebooks before one brave soul pipes up, “Okay Laura, can you just sing us Happy Birthday, please.”
I look down at the ground, I look up, I mumble an answer in the affirmative and begin.
“Happy Birthday to youuuu,
Happy Birthday to yoouuuu,
Happy Birthday to… YOU GUYS?!
(Hopeful grin, slight wink and finger point… I'm dying.)
Happy Birthday to yoooooooooou.”
(IT IS SO NOT EVEN ANYWHERE NEAR OKAY! ‘OKAY’ IS A MILD SPECK ON THE HORIZON ON WHICH I HAVE TRAMPLED, PEED AND POSITIVELY DEFECATED ALL OVER.)
“That’s all we’re going to need from you right now.”
I nod. “It’s for the best.”
I leave, having forgotten my words, forgotten my punch line and been asked to sing a nursery rhyme.
I’m pretty sure my realisational shout of “FORESKIN!” still echoes round that room to this day.
But anyway, it all worked out fine because… I GOT THE JOB!
I’m joking. I did not get the job. I did not even get near the job. The job was an unattainable carrot on my asses stick. Ass being the operative word.
But ANYWAY, I survived. I have my health and all my limbs are intact. The only thing in tatters is my dignity. And who needs that eh?!?! WHO NEEDS DIGNITY?!?
‘Not I’ said the Little Red Hen.
‘Not I’ said Laura Darrall.
Charlotte Bronte says, “I would always rather be happy than dignified.”
And on this occasion and every other in my life Charlotte, “I concur.”