May 1, 2017

Audition Confessions From: Listen To Your Mother Twin Cities

Just thinking about the word audition can cause a tight throat and a whirling mind. So, why would I decide to put myself through another audition experience?

Where were my thoughts, what was my heart searching for, who am I trying to be? I can't explain it, but something in my gut was telling me to audition for LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER."  They were looking for writers, mothers, and storytellers to share and read their unique motherhood story. What’s the worst that could happen? It might turn into a meaningful experience.

I’ve only had a handful of auditions in my short-lived turn on the theatrical stage. It started as a bold challenge in midlife to get out of my comfort zone and fulfill a lifelong acting dream. (Read about that first time here).

You might have guessed that I’m not a seasoned thespian, not an experienced public speaker, or even a remotely good curtain fact; doing any of these makes my tummy twist. 

It's true; I'm still plagued by that stage curtain fiasco. But, that’s another story. 

So why do it? 

I'll confess somewhere in my deep far-fetched thoughts, in a previous life, I may have been the sensual Sophia Loren; maybe the tenacious Bette Davis or the hilarious Lucille Ball. I know this is a stretch and I should've listened to my mother years ago when she said I could make a pretty good meatloaf.  Somehow, tossing together a meatloaf just didn't seem as glamorous. 

Don't be misled, my mother has always been supportive of every moonstruck idea I've had and usually enjoys being entertained by them. 

So, what is Listen to Your Mother anyway?

Ann Imig is the founder of the live-reading series and video sharing company LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER. Ann Imig produces a show of storytellers which shines the lights on motherhood. Their website states, "The mission of LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER production is to take the audience on a well-crafted journey that celebrates and validates mothering through giving voice to motherhood-in all of its complexity, diversity, and humor." 

In another bold move, I decided to use my own written story of motherhood wisdom and signed up for the audition to read it in front of judges. 


It's bad enough that I judge and put myself through self-imposed criticism. Now, like an American Idol episode, I was allowing myself to stand there to be judged! 

Of course, not nearly as harsh and, thankfully, Simon Cowell wasn't judging and spewing his heart crushing two-cents of how I'm no Lucille Ball. Even worse, making a mockery of my motherhood story by way of his pretentious accent.

Anyway, after hours of practicing and reading out loud to get the pacing and timing just right, D-Day arrived. I had a twisted tummy, my tongue felt heavy, my legs felt floppy and one eye seemed sticky to one direction. 

Damn it! Why am I doing this again?

I had to confront my weakness and I had to overcome the unknown. More importantly, I had to break free from the normal grind and rebrand myself from meatloaf! 

Doing uncomfortable things is sometimes the jumpstart that's needed to improve or discover a new path.  

This time, I wasn't acting out a different character on stage; this was me-myself-and-I telling my own personal story. Being vulnerable. Being real. Trying not to stumble over my heavy tongue or choke on the spit collecting in my throat. 

Too dramatic? I think not! 

They didn’t want somebody spilling out meaningless ramblings or to be on the receiving end of a spit shower. 

It had to be good, unique and special. 

Over a week's time they were auditioning a couple hundred people, so I felt my chances were slim. These individuals were auditioning with their own wonderful and memorable mother stories. I'm certain I was up against some talented and terrific mothers. 

Knowing that, I just rolled with it and did the best I could; hopefully they were, at least, entertained for 5 minutes.

Have you ever felt you needed to do something out of the norm, that ‘thing’ you wouldn't ordinarily do? Then debated whether that ‘thing’ was even necessary or meaningful. 

It may not be necessary or meaningful. Or, could it? It might take you to that next place you haven't discovered yet. 

Well, the results are in and I was not selected to be in the cast. Even though I would have soaked up the opportunity, I wasn't too disappointed. I confess, I could've done better and maybe it wasn't my thing. Then again, who knows, maybe I'll try again next year. 

Perhaps trying to be the best ass-kicking curtain holder is my thing! 

Alright, alright another confession, because I'm sure you're dying to know my curtain fiasco story. 

I was in a play performance where I had three small roles. One, was a somewhat sensual secretary, the second, a somewhat tenacious maid and third, the backstage duty of holding a makeshift curtain wall. It was tight quarters behind the stage with actors shifting back and forth. I had to make sure the crude curtain stayed in its upright position during a particular scene. 

When it was time for the all-important curtain holder part, someone backstage tried to shimmy behind me. While they went left, I went right...bumping the flimsy curtain screen as it slid through my slippery grip. It plunged directly on top of the actor during their moment of stardom. The shock and awe of it left me standing in candid view and plunking me right in the spot light with that awkward deer in the headlights – “OH SHIT" look on my face!

A surreal moment, for sure, but when you think about it, sort of seems like a hilarious Lucille Ball bit...doesn't it?

Turns out, not only can I make a decent meatloaf, but for a brief instant I channeled Lucille Ball

Wow, far-fetched dreams do come true!

That brilliant moment gave me the courage to not worry so much about failing and realizing shit happens and to just roll with it. You DO and WILL come out of it with a more resilient character in place.

There ya go, life lesson; these "things" you want to do...they CAN turn into something necessary and meaningful.

Is it your time to shake things up, to pull down that curtain screen?  Tell me your confessions.

Oh, and one last CONFESSION...

I haven't made a meatloaf since 1979!!

The 2017 Twin Cities Listen to Your Mother show details here

Put your smile on and unwrap
   A Square of Chocolate,
Laurie O

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  1. Yessss. Shit happens. We need to roll with it. And as you say sometimes the most awkward uncomfortable stretching ourselves moments are, in fact, the most profound and life altering
    I participated in listen to your mother Austin. It was one of the best things I've ever done – – and one of the most uncomfortable :-)

    1. Carla, so awesome to hear that you auditioned too! Yes, it is kind of awkward, but the experience I needed to push those boundaries. We'll just keep on rolling with it and we're bound to roll into something!

  2. What a great story--I appreciate your candor (and I can so relate to not feeling comfortable in front of a live audience!). I have to admit--I cracked up when I read your line about your mother saying you made a pretty good meatloaf. The first time I read it, I thought she meant you made a pretty good meatloaf ON STAGE (i.e., that this was the extent of your acting range)! Then I realized she was complimenting your culinary skill. :-)

    1. Lol...yes, the meatloaf bit was about my culinary skill. Funny, I guess it could have been phrased a little differently, but glad you got the gist. Haha! After putting myself through an audition, my candor and openness about the experience was the easy part. Thanks Roxanne, always enjoy your comments :)

  3. Ah yes I know all too well about the dreaded auditions! Good for you for putting yourself through it as it does make one tougher and even sometimes gets you a job. I try to view them as acting "practice"...makes me less nervous.

    1. That's exactly why I did it, Anna, for the practice of it. And, you're right, it could land a different opportunity or even the chance to meet someone who can share some great ideas. Btw, missing your blog! Thank you for your comments.


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