Tuesday, 12 April 2011

oooh la la gimme that French feeling...

The day didn’t have the most auspicious of starts. If I were to slow down my brain process it went something like this: Wham! Blackness. Shock. Heavy. I’m dead. Pain.Ow! Whazzat? Head. More pain.

Clasping both hands to the top of my head I instinctively moved away from the source of danger and lay flat on the living room floor. The sound of rushed footsteps and he hovered into view. "Are you ok?" He had his worried face on. The face of a man who knows that my talent for self-inflicted pain is impressive and limitless in its creativity and that given half a chance I will find dramatic and novel ways of braining myself. In terms of pure destructive power, Dr. StrangeLove has nothing on me.

I’d been retrieving some files from the lower part of the antique desk when the desk flap flew open unexpectedly and banged me pretty hard on the head. It sounded something "Pssshhhiiiiii Wack!" which - I grant you - has a certain dynamic ring to it. I wished, and not for the first time, that all my furniture came from IKEA so that I stood more of a chance in case of ambush 'part ammeublement'*. Just in case you’re getting the wrong idea, I love IKEA. As a matter of fact I’m writing this sitting on my tomato red IKEA couch. The desk on the other hand is patently not from IKEA on account that it is possessed by some sort of head banging spirit, is older even than IKEA’s founder, and comes from a land as warm as Sweden is cold. The wood contracts and distends across the seasons and the lock on the desk flap can stick. Our solution is to leave it precariously wedged shut even though it means that from time to time it’ll come flying open.

Like this morning, when it flew open and connected with my skull. Him: “What’s your name? When’s my birthday? Where were you born?” To distract him and give myself something to take my mind of the pain I requested a glass of water even though what I really wanted to do was burst into tears and call for my mother.

Now, apart from a persistent headache (not strong enough to warrant pain killers, but strong enough for me to try and milk it for all it’s worth), and a dull pain in my nose (my nose?), I’m feeling pretty well recovered, all things considered. So thanks for asking.

The thing is, I had some things to do and an audition. The casting brief was rather promising: woman (check), 40’s (ok, check), looks wealthy and expensively groomed (I can scrub up and put on my Sunday Best and look French – so: check). The script called for some comedic talent. As it happens, I make a great comedy villain, it’s like the bull’s eye of my casting type. Think Sue Sylvester from Glee crossed with Audrey Tautou. I did a little mental victory dance, this was going to be easy-peasy...

But as I kept scrolling down (I always do that with email, it’s amazing the amount of detail people leave in the tail…) I discovered that it was a pretty big job in terms of money. Not  big as in ‘I would never have to work again',  you understand. Not even ‘I could take the rest of the year off’ big. But big enough so that if I were to get it and go out and buy a case of chocolate bars, I would have a bit of change left over. Maybe small change for Johnny Depp, but good enough for me. As it dawned on me how much the job was potentially worth, I started feeling nervous about not landing it.

When I get nervous, I google. I checked out the production company who would be filming the commercial. They were a French outfit who in addition to ads, produce feature films for the French market. (As it happened, they’d produced the film I was watching last night, a hilarious French comedy. It was so funny in fact that he agreed to watch it with me even though he’d already seen it on the plane. And he never does that.) My casting performance could potentially land me an audition for a French feature film. This could be the start of something! I have one, ok two words for you: Marion Cotillard.

Marion or not, I started feeling even more nervous about not landing the job.Why is it that the thought of not getting something ‘big’ feels worse than not getting something ‘average’? It's perverse.

“Hope and Fear are two sides of the same coin so take that fear and turn it into the hope side of things...” With his wise advice ringing in my ears (either that or the ringing was from the blow to the head) I headed out to the audition in the still glorious (if slightly cooler) London sunshine. The casting studio was empty when I arrived with my ‘face’ on, dressed in my Sunday best, with my Paul Smith sunnies tagging along as good juju. After a few seconds of ‘oh my god the place is empty! Have I got the wrong date? The wrong time? The wrong location?’ I gave my name to the nice receptionist who ticked it off her list and gave me some paperwork to fill out. Then she took my mug shot (I made sure to stare straight at the lens) and then invited me to join the others downstairs (which is were everybody was).

There were two attractive but rather pinched brunettes. The kind that you would clock as elegant and attractive but not the kind you’d want to hang out with. So I didn't really talk to them. There was one friendly blonde lady called Lucy who it turns out – are you ready for this – worked as a mid-wife and birthing partner in between acting jobs. She confessed she was rather sleep deprived on account that one of her clients was due any day now and she’d been worried about sleeping through the phone call if it came during the night. I thought she was really sweet. If I don’t get the job I hope she gets it. Honestly, this world needs more nice people like Lucy.

Then there was a guy who regaled us with anecdotes of previous auditions, including the time when he tripped down the stairs and tumbled down the last flight just as the casting director was coming out. He was nice too.

The audition itself was pretty straight forward. I went in on my own. I wouldn’t say that I nailed it but that’s the nature of auditions: when you think you’ve got it sewn up you don’t get it, and when you think you did so-so, you might just get it (or not). But between you and me, can you keep a secret? I really hope I get it.

PS So this was all yesterday... I have just received a message from my agent telling me that I have a recall (2nd round of auditions for shortlisted actors) for this job tomorrow! Woop Woop!


Kenya D. Williamson said...

I hope you get it, too, Isabelle! And I'm glad your injury was only a flesh wound. ;)

Claire Vorster said...

Me too! And that your desk learns to behave, although I rather doubt it will :)

C x

Elizabeth Young said...

You are SO funny Isabelle! It's the way you tell a story that makes it funny, and the way you refer to your husband as 'he,' - it's almost like he's not quite real, but will one day get the part and possibly a name with it!
LOL Keep up the good work and you WILL succeed...

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Hope you get it! All appropriate appendages crossed for you :D

Accidental Londoner said...

Fingers crossed for you Isabelle!

Anonymous said...

More hopeful wishes to the universe on your behalf, Isabelle!

isabelle gregson said...

@Kenya: just a big bump so not sure it even qualifies as a flesh wound. ;)
@Claire: Like most lethal items, it's a thing of beauty.
@Elizabeth: 'he' is very real and sittting next to me munching on some sliced turkey as we speak.
@Sam @ accidentallondoner: keep up the crossing... it's got me a recall!
@nerkasalmon: As they say in I love Huckabee "It's all in the blanket"

MuMuGB said...

Well done Isabelle! The French charm has worked again!

Scrollwork said...

Hope you get to buy that case of chocolate bars, Isabelle!