by Jim Murchison
As I sit and write this, every audition I have ever done is running through my head looking for a point of reference. I have completed my audition for the National Arts Center (NAC) and I have survived it and in fact think I did a pretty good job. I think I did. The nerves were relatively in control. The transfer of adrenalin infused the characters, I believe, but in many ways it feels like a dream where I was outside of my own body as well as in it.
There is a huge difference in performing for hundreds of people in the warm nourishing bosom of an ensemble and alone for just one or two people who are considering whether to hire you or not. The latter is far more terrifying. Having said that, auditioning for Jillian Keily and Sarah Garton Stanley was as nice as can be. They are friendly and relaxed and even give you a chocolate send off with their thank you at the end of the audition.
I exchanged a couple of stories about my experience in 1984 and thanked them for letting me close the circle since my assassination of the resident company in 1984. Seriously, despite the fact that the Oresteia marked the end of an era there was not any sinister Orwellian plot attached to its demise and I accept no responsibility for it.
The Arts is a can of soul-nurturing milk to politicians and the funding angels. It is a nice thing to have when you can afford it, but when it is past the best-before date, bread and butter is more important than milk and the money goes elsewhere.
But not everything about being in that last production was bad. It is a privilege to play on any stage, but being part of the NAC company carries a special recognition of being considered among the nation’s most accomplished or promising performers, designers and creators. Also there are some pretty neat memories. Even the bad parts seem funny now. The passage of time can do that sometimes.
Having said all this, if the last experience I ever have as a performer with the NAC is that audition on the Fourth Stage it will have been a very nice way to finish. Given the organizational requirements of putting a season together and securing actors (the 2014-2015 Company is already set) it will likely be a long time before I would know if I fit in any future plans, but for me the important thing is that I am back out there and taking those risks.