Little Man developed an interest in acting last year and got involved with the community playhouse. My husband and I were thrilled to see him so interested in something that wasn’t Fortnite or Transformers. (Both of those are awesome, but variety, yo.) We were talking about the acting thing several weeks ago, and my husband said he wondered who he got his talent from, since it wasn’t from us.
That reminded me of a story from when I was in middle school, because I actually did attempt a couple of plays when I was younger.
Eighth grade wasn’t the best year for me. Aside from constantly being given shit for liking Hanson and breaking my tailbone while skiing, I tried out for the school play. This doesn’t sound like a bad thing — hell, I made an attempt at something and tried to broaden my horizons — but sometimes the good stuff just isn’t enough to outweigh the bad. The bad being me.
The play was Aladdin. The part was Jasmine.
Let me tell you something about myself — I’m either slack or Leslie Knope. There’s no in-between. I’m either not gonna do something at all, or I’m gonna go at it so hard that you may very well question my sanity. I went full Knope for the play. I went over my lines constantly. I practiced in front of the mirror to make sure my facial expressions were on point. When audition day rolled around, I knew every single line. I didn’t have much hope of getting the part, since I was a tall, awkward dork and that didn’t really fit the role, but I was ready.
The time came. I had to audition in front of three people. The first part of the audition went fantastic. I totally nailed the lines, and I impressed the teachers since I had already memorized all of the lines for Jasmine.
And then they asked me to sing.
I knew the I Can Show You the World song, of course. I had practiced singing it many times. I would plug my headphones into my keyboard and play the song while singing. Sometimes I’d sing it in the shower (and if you’ve ever sung in the shower, then you know it isn’t really representative of how you really sing).
Three things were missing from that audition: my keyboard, my headphones, and steam. I assumed they would play the music from the CD player, but that didn’t happen either, so it was just my voice.
You hear about people doing difficult and challenging things all the time. Some people run marathons. Others climb mountains. The truly brave people clean their kids’ car seats. Let me tell you, fully singing that song was probably one of the toughest things I have done, because as soon as I sang the first line and heard what I really sounded like without headphones, steam, or super loud music blaring in the background, I realized how awful I was. The look on the judges’ faces confirmed this.
I don’t know why they didn’t stop me. My voice cracked in spots, I sorta talked some lines of the song, and I can’t imagine that anyone could sound more out of tune than I did. Maybe they wanted to spare my feelings or wanted something to laugh about in the teachers’ lounge later. Or, maybe they were just so taken aback by someone sounding so terrible that they were paralyzed and just couldn’t force their mouths to move to tell me to shut up. It was the sort of audition that American Idol probably would’ve aired.
After I wrapped up the song, I waited for feedback. Wanna know what’s worse than someone looking at you with a horrified look on their face? Silence.
Finally, one of the judges thanked me for auditioning, so I gave a double thumbs up and dashed out of the room.
I did not get the part, of course. I did get another part, but that part had zero singing. I gave the acting thing a try again a year later in high school, but that play also required singing, and after getting fussed at for lip syncing, I let that be my last role.
Oh, yeah — to add insult to injury, when I told my grandmother about the audition, she cackled. “I’m not surprised, because you can’t sing worth a lick!”
What’s something you tried to do where you crashed and burned in a spectacular way?
Having trouble with your New Years resolutions already? Then, if you haven’t read my book “Don’t Lick That!” yet, pop over to Amazon and download a copy to read to ring in the New Year. It won’t help you keep your resolutions, but reading about my mishaps will make you feel better about your own life.