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Second Callback
(part 1: The Callback)

by Gary Beck

          I wasn’t as nervous this time. Why should I be? I was ready to audition again. I still had a shot at a part. One thing I knew for sure. Unlike actors, casting directors didn’t need to practice their technique. But I was worried. There were a lot of girls in the lobby of the slightly dingy rehearsal studio. If they were here for second callbacks, I had a lot of competition. I tried to keep my focus in the right place, but the thought kept sneaking in: ‘What if someone’s better than me?’

I took a deep breath, cleared my head and just went over my audition pieces. I had tried to find out what show they were casting for, with no success. A friend who had worked with the director before told me she thought it would be either Oklahoma, or Carousel, so I prepared accordingly. I decided on Carousel and picked the love song from the show, and a modern ballet dance piece. I knew I had a good, though not great voice, and the song was within my range. Modern dance was my first love, so I was confident I was as well prepared as I could be.

Unlike the other auditioners putting on bright smiles and good posture while they waited, I stayed centered in my little shell. I would only have a brief window to show my stuff.  I wanted to be ready to go the moment I got my cue. I ignored the conversations going on around me and tried to push away the fantasies about how my life would change if I got a part. I needed to stay in complete control of my performance mindset.

A lot of girls went in before me, but the longer I waited the calmer I felt. The distraction of worrying faded away and a sense of excitement coursed through me. The chance to land a role that would establish my career was in my hands. I wouldn’t have to waitress more than two days a week if the show ran for a while Off Broadway. And if it made it to Broadway, and took me with it, I’d be a well-paid, full-time actress. I shook my head and took a deep breath and chided myself: ‘Stop daydreaming, girl. This could be the only time I get a chance to perform for a possible Broadway show. Stay in performance mode’.

The same stage manager who had called me twice before, called my name. She still looked butch, but I had been there long enough to notice how competent she was. Good stage managers always reassure the actors they work with. She was no exception. She gave me a friendly smile and whispered: ‘Good luck’. I nodded, intent on preparing my game face, then turned to her:

“If I get the part, I hope you’re the stage manager.”

She grinned. “Knock him dead, kid.

I nailed my song and my confidence soared, for I was an even better dancer. When I finished my dance routine I smiled and said: “Anything else I can show you?”

He smiled. “You really want the job.”

“Of course. That’s why I’m here.”

He stared at me for a moment.

“How did you know we were doing Carousel?”

“I didn’t,” I replied in surprise. “It’s my second favorite show. I always do something from it for musical auditions.”

“What’s your favorite show?”

“West Side Story. But everyone is doing it at auditions and I don’t want to melt into the crowd.”

“You’re telling me,” he said wryly. “I’ve seen at least 25 Marias… Did you ever think of getting an agent?”

“No. Why?”

“If you get the show. You’ll need one, so he can get other jobs for you.”

“Should I get my hopes up?”

“Not until you get a call.”

“Well thanks for seeing me, Mr…?”

“Just Mitch.”

“Thanks, Mitch. I hope I’ll see you again.”

A good thing someone invented cellphones. I’d hate to wait for a smoke signal.

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