March 17, 2006

Carpe Diem Actually Means Something

It’s eight o’clock on a Friday night and I have had a crazy week at school. One that included the aforementioned poetry reading, correcting and turning in quarter three grades, and the selling of a photograph for $60, I grab my guitar and walk down in the rain looking for a cab. My iPod is blasting Untitled by Interpol as I sit in traffic watching the rain. I am on my way to an audition.

Yes, I am a 31-year-old American teacher going to the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Center and yes I am auditioning for a musical. Last week in our acting class the teacher, who by the way I found out is married to the “first lady” of acting in Malaysia, told us that he is directing a new Musical that will be playing in late August. He said that we should all think about coming, if for no other reason than to experience an audition. And because my name is not Jeff Enos, and because I showed my students Dead Poet Society this week and the phrase Carpe Diem actually means something to me, I decided that I would audition no matter what. So what if I can’t really sing, or dance, or act and I would have no time to do this even if I did get the part, seeing that I am teaching and having a baby, but why not at least say yes to the chance to see what it is like.

So as it drizzled outside, I was sitting in a studio with Joe, the director, a woman choreographer and some woman on the piano. I played the opening chords of Forever by Ben Harper and off I went. I fucked it up pretty bad. Nerves. He asked me to play something a bit more up tempo and seeing that The Times Are A Changin is the only other songs I can just play and sing, I belted into that. Vocally, I was trying to not be shy, but the guitar playing suffered and I butchered the chords. After that he asked me to go to the piano and the woman wanted to test my range. I knew what that meant in theory, but I had no idea what to do when she pounded a key and asked me to sing the note. I did my best. Sing the lowest note you can. Now the highest. I laughed inside about all the things I have to learn.

Next, the choreographer asked me to follow some basic steps. I fumbled through them and got a few of them right. I sat down and we all laughed a bit about my performance. We all knew that I was not there to be in this play, but that I just want to try and say yes. I wanted the experience and this, from the way he looked at me, seemed to please the director. “I like you Jabiz. You got guts.” You don’t know the half of it Joe. He said that the auditions will go through next week and if there is a short list he would call me. We both knew that he wouldn’t be calling. But that is okay. I didn’t go there to get the part. I went there because most people when given a flier advertising auditions for a musical would not think of going. I am not most people. I can now add auditioned for a musical to my resume. I walked to get a cab in the thick humid air, listening the song Say Something by James. A stray dog trotted by my side, than it ran off into the darkness.

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