Confessions Of An Actress

Confessions Of An Actress

There seems to be a mysterious black hole between the half hour call and the act 1 beginner’s.  It’s as if time itself folds over to conspire against you or maybe you’re actually in a theatre style Bermuda triangle.

Either way it means your make up will not be done, you will not have your wig on and you will not have done that extra vocal warm up you swore to start doing in the new year.

Instead you’ll probably just be sat in your underwear eating cookies and watching star trek on Netflix or better yet playing scenario with your fellow cast members, ‘Steven Spielberg phones you up and says honey I want you to feature in my new film but you’ll be playing a beetle. Do you take it or turn him down?’

When I was a little girl my parents took me to see my first West end show. The Lion King. I’d been massive fan when the animated cartoon was released. Sitting in the dark cinema sobbing my old soul out, knowing beyond my time that Simba was perhaps a slightly more charismatic Hamlet.

The sobbing scene was repeated when we sat in the lyceum theatre that fateful Friday night.  As the overture began I felt my lungs compress, my throat constrict and the tears begin.

Eventually my crying became less than discreet and my dad turned to me, ‘don’t you like it? We’ll have to leave if you can’t stop crying.’

I turned to my dad and with as much composure as an 8 year old can muster said, ‘no daddy. I love it. I’m crying because I love it. ‘

The rest they say is history.

Now I know there’s quite a few of my peers that would read that and roll their eyes. She’s stagey. Yes, yes I am. I have absolutely no problem admitting it.

I love an 11 O’clock number.  I love a Fosse hip roll. I love a strong belted note. I love a tricky harmony. I can likely pas da bourree until the cow jumps over the moon. See I couldnt help myself. Sneaky musical theatre reference that all the Rent fans are salivating over.

So yes excuse me whilst I live my dreams and love every second of it. Sure I’m sacrificing many things to be here and kissing goodbye to a particular way of living, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Yet there are realities to living your dream.

From training, to showcases, to finding an agent, getting auditions and booking a job, you find yourself tested no just as a performer but also as a person.

What does it actually take?

Nothing provides more of a reality check than when you step into an audition space and a small room zooms out in slow motion to become a scene from the shining.

You think to yourself, don’t panic, smile, give eye contact. Not that much the panel will think you’re on speed. Don’t start sweating like you’re guilty, you’re not actually on speed. Calm down. Take some deep breaths. They are just people. so what if they’re the sole decision makers on whether you get a job. Imagine them naked. Mistake. Mistake.  Mistake. Put their clothes back on. You don’t need that kind of imagery in your life.

A nondescript middle aged white man asks you what you’ll be singing. Good bloody question. You give a nervous smile and look down at your rep book, sweat dripping down your nose and hitting the cover. Just so you know, a rep book, also known as your repertoire, is a folder full of songs that should be cut and suitable for auditions.

I digress. They’re expecting an answer. What will you be singing today? Why is your mind suddenly blank? Didn’t you plan for this? Train for this ?

Yes.

Can I tell you a secret?

Sometimes no matter how much you prepare you actually still don’t always have the answer. Everyday is an adventure and every opportunity a chance to learn.

So what am I singing ?

What would you like to hear?

Michelle Hopewell

Michelle Hopewell

Actor/Writer at Funemployment
Black British, faith filled, curvy actress with a love for food, great music, good movies, life changing literature and awkward moments.
Michelle Hopewell

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