The title should be sung in the style of “Tradition” from Fiddler on the Roof.
So today was a bit of a productive day. I challenge my fear of the Portland mass-transit system and managed to make it quite easily around town.
My first task was to get myself all prettified, which meant wearing nice slacks and the only nice white dress shirt I own (if you’ve known me for more than six months, you have seen this shirt). I looked good. I looked damn good. I grabbed my man bag, stuffed with The Glass Menagerie (“Pleurosis! I thought you said blue roses!“), some resume/headshots, and a notepad in case creativity struck me (it didn’t), and headed off into the wild Portland yonder.
My first trip was to a casting call for a commercial about people playing a Wii game. That’s the extent of what I know. I left my house at 1:30; the casting call was at 3:00. I, being completely naive about the transit system, thought it would take approximately a million hours to get from point A to point B. My brain did not register the perfectly logical argument that the transit system should not take approximately a million hours, because it is a transit system and, by nature, should not be leisurely. Still, I figured, give it an extra hour at least, which frightened me into an hour and a half. I mean, what if the bus breaks down? What if I get on the wrong bus? What if a bear somehow gets on the bus and I have to wrestle it to the ground with my bare hands? I was merely adding an extra half hour for potential bear-wrestling variables.
I got there at 2:10. And felt very sheepish. It was okay, though, because I had no idea where the place was, or where I was, really, and so it afforded me a lot of time to walk around and survey the scene. After a while I realized I was roughly in the same place that I had gotten lost in three years ago when I went with my girlfriend at the time to see my first Decemberists concert. It’s an industrial district, which is why having an ad agency right in the middle of it was kind of odd. But I found it, at like 2:20. And had forty minutes to waste. But what to do?
Obviously, the answer to that is eat. But, alas, I am (notoriously) poor, and had to settle on the value menu at a nearby Burger King. I still can’t get over the lack of sales tax here. My spicy chicken crisp was exactly a dollar! Not a dollar six, a dollar even! It was nice to pocket that extra six cents.
I ate in the BK in my nice threads while reading the Forward of this particular copy of The Glass Menagerie (written by Mr. Williams himself), fully aware of how weird it was to be doing this in a Burger King. But hey, I had nothing else to do. I finished my meal and checked my watch. 2:35. Guh.
I ended up going up to the agency at 2:40, stopping to pick up a Willamette Week and Portland Mercury on my way, and when I got up to the third floor I noticed I wasn’t the only one to arrive twenty minutes early, which was nice. I was handed something to sign and then hung out, waiting for 3:00. But then the guy doing the casting (or at least taking the pictures) came out and started taking us at around 2:45. So I got in (fourth in line), got my Polaroid and some info (am I available Oct 3rd? [hell yes] Have I done extra work before? [yes!]), and was out by 2:55. Not half bad. Oh, and apparently the look for the commercial is preppy private school, and he asked me if I had anything like that, and I said, “Uh, I think so…” and he said, “Well, what you’re wearing would be fine,” and I was like, “Yessssss.” I said that in my head, though, not out loud.
So I took the bus home and played with a dog for a while and waited until five (a proper hour, not hour and a half) to make my way uptown for my play audition. Boarded the 72 bus, which was supposed to take me north to Killingsworth, then west to 7th Ave. It did not do that.
It happened quite suddenly. At Cully, the driver shouted, “END OF THE LINE!” then turned the bus off. And the lights. And we (about ten of us) sat there in silence before she said, “Okay! Get off the bus!”
We shuffled off, very confused. I saw another bus across a parking lot that also said Killingsworth on it and asked the driver if he was going to 7th Ave. He said no, he’s going south. I asked if there was a bus going to 7th Ave. He shrugged his shoulders. Nice.
I dialed the Trimet number to see if another 72 was coming by. It said there was, which meant that I had just gotten on the wrong bus, apparently. So the rest of the exiled bus passengers and I waited for that bus to arrive. And when it did, the world was good again. Until the lady said, halfway down the line, that it was Last Thursday and she would not be turning on Alberta. I had no idea what this meant, so I was just fine with that.
Then I remembered that I had to get off at 7th and Alberta. But we were still on Killingsworth. So, uh … what the hell do I do? And what the F was Last Thursday? (Answer: it’s like First Thursday in Boise, except they block of a part of the street for the celebration.) Fortunately, the bus driver was letting people off wherever they wanted, since there were no bus routes on Killingsworth at this point, and people were Generally Discombobulated. So I asked her nicely if I could get off at 7th, and she said Yes, and I did.
So now I was at 7th and Killingsworth, and needed to be at 6th and Alberta. I was slightly disoriented, still trying desperately to negotiate the compass system that is so crucial here. I decided to walk in a direction I thought was south. And then I remembered that I had Verizon Navigator on my phone, so I whipped it out and after a bit of tinkering, I found out that I was, in fact, traveling south, and that I wasn’t far from Alberta, and yada yada I made it to King Elementary, where the audition was happening.
I was going to write about the audition process but I think my specific opinions should not be shouted out to everyone to hear (I have learned to keep my mouth shut after certain blog posts…), but in general it went very well. I left all my playbooks and monologue books in Boise, so I only had my Tom monologue from Menagerie (After the fiasco at Rubicam’s business college … yeah, that one), which I did very well, if I say so myself. The director seemed to enjoy it, at least. And she asked if I could stick around and read sides and I said Oh Yes and so I did.
I got a little intimidated because the other people auditioning had agents and nice color headshots and connections and other shows they were doing, but from the little amount of partner work I did tonight, I can safely say that I held my own. Also, the saddest thing was when I realized that this would be the first time I had ever acted opposite a black person. Oh Idaho, must you be so white and Mormon? The two guys I did scenes with were great, though, and it made me a little disappointed at the lack of color in the BSU theatre program. We had a bunch of white kids and a couple of Asians and that’s about it. Oh, and Dominique. She was, er, is black. And I guess I did do La Mancha with her. So I append my statement: first time acting with a black male.
I don’t want to bring it up as a race thing, but I think what a lot of people fail to see is that in Idaho, it’s not so much racism as lack of race. It just doesn’t exist. So it’s not like we’re racist at all, we just don’t see a lot of black people, which is sad, because they are awesome.
Anyway, off my race soapbox. I held my own in the audition, I thought, and took the 6 bus to the MAX to get home (no way was I going to try the 72 again, not tonight…). And now I’m home and I jus
t ate a bunch of Tic-Tacs! I think I’m addicted!