Just a quick note to say that I went to an audition yesterday and spent 3.5 hours with over 100 young actors waiting for my chance to sing my 16 bars. It was such a pleasure to be with them, as they were polished, poised, and had obviously put a lot of thought into how they would be seen and regarded. They were, quite frankly, the opposite of most clergy groups I mingle with.
They had actual hair do’s — curled, up and tousled on purpose, long locks and big mutton chop sideburns on a few of the guys, carefully arranged curls cut really well and shining with a dab of pomade. Groomed eyebrows. Modest heels on almost all of the ladies, because you do that for an audition. You do that to look more elegant, more artistic, more lithe. You can move much better in a bit of a heel; actors know this.
And their faces! Alive, alert, expressive. I didn’t have any reading material or work with me, so I had naught to do but watch their faces and listen to them chat quietly while patiently waiting their turn to sing. No one was mannered or affected, pretentious or showy. They were all working actors who knew who they were, knew what their “look” was, and knew how they wanted to be seen by the production team who would be watching them perform.
As they emerged from the audition space and friends asked, “How did it go?” some of them would say, “I was pleased” and some would say, “They said I did a good job!” and others would say things like, “I had too much vibrato from nerves and I forgot to breathe in one place” or “The accompanist skipped a cut and dropped out for a second but I kept singing, and I think we came out okay,” but all were gracious. They were aware of how they had sounded and how they had done, they were attentive to the details of their few minutes up there, and they were accountable to themselves for their own performances and made a mental note toward improvement. Those of us who waited several hours to go on recognized that we were no longer warmed up, that it was very hard to stay focused over that long a wait, and that some of us were hungry and dehydrated. But no one complained, no one was a diva, everyone was respectful and appreciative of the production team running the audition who stayed late to see every last one of us.
Everyone kept their heels on the entire time, and everyone sat at chairs or neatly against the wall in the waiting areas. That alone made me feel that I was with mature human beings. If that had been a gathering of my religious community’s clergy, there would have been shoes everywhere, outer layers of clothing strewn about, whining for water, and an endless line of inquiry to the stage manager to see when we would be seen. People would have tried to do his job for him, or recommended how to run the audition a different way. Bodies would have been flung about the public space with belongings strewn everywhere, and arguments about the air conditioning (on or off?) would have been vigorous.
When people have integrated their body as an instrument that they have taken pains to train and discipline and respect in a professional sense, they can manage themselves, their attitudes and their space in a poised manner. Not every body at that audition was able or lithe at all. But every one of them was elegantly composed.
I thought, “Ministers could learn a LOT from these people.”
So I thought I’d tell you about it.