"That's his monologue?" Jack questioned, watching Alex study the Hogwarts Sorting Hat song before his Dickens Festival audition last night. "I'm just reciting the Preamble to the Constitution."
"Well, when you're the director's son," I replied, "and you're a contender for a good role, you have to work twice as hard as everyone else to prove you deserve it."
And I have to say that he has definitely worked hard. His audition actually began back in July, when our family was asked to speak in church. I gave Alex the option to sing or speak, and just like his mom would have, he chose to sing. I chose a song purposefully a bit higher than his comfortable range, curious to see how he would handle it. I also chose one with difficult intervals so I could get a feel for his skills as a soloist. "Every Star is Different" from the Primary Children's Songbook fit the bill perfectly and matched the theme he'd been given.
Working with him was a delight! I was impressed by how teachable he was, and how willing he was to take direction. We often practiced for 30 to 45 minutes at a time, which seemed pretty remarkable considering Alex's general lack of focus. And when the big day came, he stood confidently at the podium and sang his song.
He passed my first test.
So I chose an audition song I hoped would impress the vocal director (a.k.a., Grandma). He has been working on "Solla Sollew" for two months, and he put in hours on it this week alone. We worked hard on not breathing so frequently, but his asthma makes that difficult for him. Still, he was willing to try my suggestions and never fought me or got teary.
He passed my second test.
We fought about the monologue, though! He didn't like any of my ideas, explaining it was hard for him to use an accent on things that weren't written for an accent. When I suggested something from Harry Potter, he agreed. I found the Sorting Hat song online, and he liked the quirky lines. His face lit up each time he delivered the line, "I'll eat myself if I can find a smarter hat than me." Sold. In one week, he memorized its 32 lines and practiced with his cute accent. He sat on the front porch and recited. He practiced in the car. He only rolled his eyes once when I suggested that we practice.
(His first attempt at all 32 lines unassisted, caught on video by placing my phone in the glove box. Keep in mind this was 6:45 a.m., and that he could see himself on the forward facing camera.)
He passed my third test.
Auditions finally came last night, and I didn't really need to hear his song or see his monologue. I was evaluating his attitude. He entered in a group of six auditioners which included his brother, his Uncle Jack, and our good friend Logan - a sure recipe for distraction should he choose to make it. He sat quietly on his chair, waiting his turn, and made no disruptions during the other five auditions. He approached the audition table hesitantly, and I saw a brief flash of what could quickly become silliness. But he took a breath, suppressed his giggles, and forged confidently on.
He passed my fourth test.
There are more tests in store as he attends callbacks today. Will he take direction from Grandma? Can he work hard in a group with other kids? How will he interact with the potential Cratchit parents? Can he sing high enough for Tiny Tim's song? I don't know.
But this mama is proud that he made callbacks!
And speaking of proud...
Remember my child that has only been speaking for 2 years? Last year, he was too shy to even walk into the same room as me if I was running a rehearsal. This year he stepped up to the plate and not only auditioned, but blew his Grandma away. Well done, Dylan. (He matched pitch even better at his audition.)
It's fun to be a theater mom, and I love directing the Dickens Festival shows. It's even better when I get to do both!
3 months ago