Auditioning Disappointment: You Can’t Always Get What You Want

November’s Bye Bye Birdie was my first stage production in almost two years, and only my second in more than six years. After Birdie, I decided I wanted to do another show, and soon. My deadline was made clearer by the fact that I have a baby due in June, when I’ll need to hang up my acting shoes for a while to play daddy.

I originally set my sights on Chicago at Theater Works. That show fit nicely into my window. Plus, c’mon, it’s Chicago. But Chicago up and got canceled. Instead of that theater’s replacement musical, I decided to go out for A Man For All Seasons, a straight play (non-musical) in the same time range put on by my “home theater”—if I have a “home theater”—Fountain Hills Community Theater.

Auditions consisted only of cold reads from the script. Basically, you show up, they hand you a couple pages from the script, send you to the stage with another actor who probably wants the same role as you, and watch you work.

I was asked to read just a couple of times. In my experience that means A) the director knows what I’m capable of and already has me slotted for a role or B) I’ve pretty much already been cut.

At the end of the night, I was thinking A, but as time went by the next day, after we were told we’d get a call, B lurked into the picture. You only get a call if they want you in the show. Like a boy who never hears from that girl for a second date, you’re left to wonder why. In fact, the cast is having its first meeting as I finish this post, so it looks like I have my final answer.

Am I disappointed? Yes. Rejection always stings. I don’t care how “over it” you say you are.

Am I OK with it? Yes. This is a new, more mature Matt’s answer. They tell you that if you’re not cast, that you shouldn’t take it personally. I used to take it personally—how could they not want ME?—but not anymore. I understand now that the director has a greater vision for the show, and for the actors who will bring it to life. The simple answer is that I didn’t fit into that vision.

Seems like I’ll slip into my acting sabbatical a little sooner than expected. I look at it this way: Instead of spending 120 hours at the theater over the next six weeks, I can have quality time with my wife as we get ready for the arrival of our first child.

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