As you'll already know if you read the last entry (If you haven't, now's your chance: As the Actress Said to the Bishop...; "Now take your clothes off". No one will ever know that you missed it first time round. Except for me of course.) I was called in to re-audition in my bathing suit last Friday. Lucky me. My agent who is nothing if not thorough reissued the casting breakdown. After briefly toying with the idea of saying Non! I thought better of it (I could do with the money) and re-read the breakdown - just in case they'd decided to ditch the swimwear. This time it specified: "dress smart casual" but sadly, it still requested that I wear a bathing suit under my clothes.
The sort-of diet is going well thank you... but having to fit a 30's style bathing suit underneath anything that doesn't resemble a tent remains a limiting factor. So I plumped for a pair of custom made pinstripe blue Thai style trousers (you know the kind that are open on the side but wrap around the front and back - handy for flinging off burlesque style when I revealed my bathing suit underneath) and some rubber soled high heeled red patent leather shoes so I wouldn't trip.
As a rule, I try and conserve energy before an audition. It's amazing how much you need once the adrenaline gets pumping. But not on Friday. First I went to Zumba and did the rumba, the salsa, the cumbia and some chachacha for a whole hour before power walking into Soho in my heels. I figured lunch could wait. (I find it so much easier to suck in my tummy when I'm starving. Don't you?)
Given the casting director's time keeping record, I arrived on the dot for my appointment at one o'clock. There was a new girl on reception: efficient, unflappable and friendly (although it turned out she wasn't even working there, she was just temping for the morning.) "Hi, I'm Isabelle Gregson." "Hi, just fill out this form." (What? Again? I used my madwoman flowing handwriting... that will show them.)
Me to the unflappable temp, with a light tone: "How much of a wait is there?"
Unflappable temp: "They're pretty much on time but it's first come first seen basis, we're not going by call time." She gave a little shrug as if to say: "That's not how I would do it either but what can you do?"
There were 4 other actors waiting. Older on average than the group from Wednesday. I didn't have anything else to do (other than get some lunch) so I stayed put and settled in for a long wait.
Older brash blonde woman stepping into reception to other blonde looking rather washed out in a pale summer dress: "Oh hi! I haven't seen you in ages..."
Pale dress wishing she'd worn more make up and a red dress: "I know. It's been so long..."
And I (we all had) to endure yet another mind numbing conversation between two ageing and painfully middle class actresses (I have nothing against the middle classes, I mean I'm middle class but there's regular middle class and then there's painful middle class - like those two.) This time it was weddings.
Brash Blonde: "I 'd like to know who she (Kate) worked with to make sure her face didn't set in a nervous grimace, you could tell she was so nervous."
Pale Dress: "I wonder how she managed not to cry. I bet she wore waterproof mascara just in case."
Oh do shut up already.
Brash Blonde's re her own upcoming nuptial (make a break for it you poor man whilst you still can): "I'm worried I'll cry and ruin my make-up on the day."
Pale Dress : "You have to treat it as a performance. You're an actress."
Brash Blonde: "But I cry watching pet food commercials!"
Die both of you. Die now.
Then Brash Blonde got called in and it all went blissfully quiet. One by one they all went in. Then the temp left. I was bored so I got to chatting with the owner of the casting studio, as you do. Poor woman. Poor woman? Poor me! I bet she'd never had a captive audience before. That's how I found about the temp being a temp. And found out the name of the gloomy guts who'd been manning reception on Wednesday. I found out lots of things about the ins and out of the casting studio industry (not much money in it but lots of work) and its evolution over the last 20 years (email has gone and ruined the notion of lead times).
Then it was my turn to audition. After the usual 'look into the camera, name, agent, right profile, left profile, show us your hands, show us the other side, any commercials in the last year?' the casting director announced: "This is definitely about less is more. I just want you to take your shoes off and lie there on the couch and relax." So I did. "Wiggle your toes a bit." So I did. "Not so much." I obliged. "Have a look around as you relax." I did. "Have a stretch. Good. Now wiggle your toes again." It went on like this for a good 5 or 10 minutes. I've never worked so hard at doing nothing and relaxing on a couch.
Then it was thank you and goodbye. I don't think I'll get it. On account of my toe wiggle probably being too continental. But the best bit? After all that angst and trouble I went to, no one asked to see my bathing suit!