The Time I Auditioned For a Play and Was So Scared I Almost Died

I didn’t know what to write about for the blog, but I happened to find an assignment I wrote for psychology class a few months ago. Enjoy.

Thinking about it over and over again was probably the worst part of it. Not saying that the actual experience wasn’t a horrible terrifying experience, but the anticipation of it was a long lasting terror that lasted for a few days. My mind would race with different possible situations that could or might occur. Eyes staring at me, watching me while I perform whatever script they would have ended up giving me. You’re probably thinking I’m afraid that they were judging me and that I was afraid what they might have thought of me when I presented myself towards the group, but I’m not afraid or even care about what they think. That’s what most people automatically assume when I say I’m afraid of people. They say, “It doesn’t matter what they think.” I couldn’t give a damn what other people thought about me, because it doesn’t affect me. I wish I could explain my thought process, but I don’t even know the way my mind works myself. I’m just afraid of people, not what they think. Psychologists, doctors, and family have all needed some other explanation when I say I’m afraid. Every time I am unable to give them a satisfactory answer. I just am afraid to talk to people, being around people, and presenting myself in front a large group of people. There’s no underlying reason behind it. Not that I know of.

One of my female friends in drama who I’m quite fond of and I were having a conversation. I don’t quite remember what it was about entirely, but the subject ended up gearing towards my anxieties and how I should get used to being around people. She had the bright idea that I should audition for the new play. I laughed and said no. If I can’t present a project in front of the class without having an anxiety attack and almost fainting, there was going to be no way I could “act” in front of a bunch of people who are quite familiar with drama and acting. I used to be interested in these kinds of things; plays, acting, drama. I liked, as a little kid, pretending I was someone else. I wanted to grow up to be a famous actor and got my parents to sign me up to an acting class. For as much as I remember, I did pretty well and was quite the child actor. I even ended up being casted for a commercial for a Mexican TV show or something. I just remember it was a great experience, but it was extremely hot and they kept telling me to stop looking at the camera. Since I was so young, all my memories of that day were very foggy, but I do happen to still have two pictures of me with my actor father and actress mother. I’ll bring them into class and you can see if them if you’d like. Just ask me. So, my female friend persisted. I’m not sure if it’s because she really needed people to audition or she really thought this would be good for helping me with my anxieties. Eventually, I caved in. I was anxious, but I felt that maybe it might help me too. I was wrong.

The day you asked us to prepare for the skit was the day I planned to audition. You’re probably thinking why would he beg to not do a small skit, but be willing to audition in front of a large group of actors? Well, I promised my friend I would audition and I knew if I did both things my heart would just fail on me. There’s only so much my heart could take within a few days. So, I’m writing this (a bit late, but I’ve been going through a lot lately) writing assignment instead. I actually enjoy writing these now, they don’t feel like assignments. It feels more like a way for me to let out something usually nobody would care to hear about. My story. Everyone has a story, so what makes mine so important? Well, I think about that sometimes, so it’s glad to know that I can let others get a read of my book even if it’s only a few pages. I’m tired of it being judged by the cover. Anyway, I’m getting off topic. I asked you if I could write this assignment, even suggesting this topic, because it’s something I wanted to talk about. It was something I probably won’t forget for a while.

I walk in the theater, heart racing, and pick up a sign up sheet from my female friend. Apparently she’s partially in charge of the whole casting. So, I take a sheet and look at the row of seats and everyone seems to know someone in this theater, so I go to the front row, which is currently empty. I take a seat and start filling out the information. My leg is shaking uncontrollably. Usually I shake my leg to calm my nerves and have control over it, but this time I didn’t. I would have to actually grab my leg and hold it in place. After a few minutes, a girl comes and sits right next to me. She asks me, “Is this your first time too?” I nod. “I saw the first play and I was really interested in being a part of the whole thing. Did you see it?” I nod again, but after a few seconds… “Well, sort of” I said nervously, “I’m currently editing the video in Video Production class. So, I’m seeing it every day.” She let out a small chuckle and said, “That’s pretty cool.” I look down and continue filling out the sheet. Most of the people in the theater I knew of. I say “know of” because I don’t really know anybody. I just see people here and there in school, I just know of their existence while it remains that they don’t know of mine. There were a new faces, like the girl who sat next to me whose name I can’t even remember because I was so nervous, that I haven’t seen around school before.

There was one girl who stood out of the whole group of auditioning students.  I remember while editing the theater video mentioning to an acquaintance who sat next to me that this girl with reddish-orange hair was very pretty. Her hair color is probably what caught my eye though. So, the drama teacher walks to the front of the theater and explains what we are going to do. She says we’re going to recite a part of the play and she explains the characters current motivations and some backstory. She tells us we’ll have to pair up with someone of the opposite sex and go up in front and recite the lines. I immediately panic, but fortunately the girl next to me quickly asks me, “Would you like to up with me?” I suppose she didn’t know anybody else here either and I was the only one she’s really talked to since going in the theater. I nod and say, “Sure as long we don’t go up first.” She nods and smiles. We ended up going second. The first group was pretty good, but I’m not entirely sure because I was too much in my head worrying about having to go up soon. At the time, I didn’t know when and was hoping it would be close to the last groups that would go up, but when the first group finished the drama teacher says, “Can we have the two in the front go up now?” My partner gets up and I look at her for a bit, trying to delay as much as I can, but I just go up with her. We both state our names and ages. So, I start with the first line.

A lot of what happened while I was up in front is a blur. I mainly remember sometimes stopping and looking at all the people staring back at me. The teacher was writing stuff down, no matter what I did and that really made me anxious. What was she writing? Was it bad? Or even worse…  Am I doing a good job? Hopefully I don’t get the part I keep thinking to myself. A lot of my recitation just seemed like I was reading it. It was a long time since acting class. I believe I was six when I took them, and my anxieties have become much more severe since then. So, I wasn’t a good actor at all. I feel bad for the girl, because I think I was so bad that it made her kind of look bad, even though she was an amazing actress and definitely deserved the part if she didn’t get it. I just checked the list to make sure my name wasn’t on it. Fortunately, it wasn’t and I don’t ever have to go through that again. Hopefully. So, after we finish our lines we go back to our seats and watch others do their auditions. I remember one person’s audition standing out a lot. His name was Matt. He was in the previous play, and you could tell he took the drama and acting thing really seriously. To me it seemed a bit overdramatic, but I guess with plays you should express your emotions that way so everyone knows what’s going on in the minds of the characters. I usually keep a neutral face to prevent people from knowing what’s going on in my mind. It’s too strange for people to comprehend. Sometimes my thoughts are too crazy and make me think I should be locked up in some kind of asylum, but these are only thoughts. My mind runs off sometimes, like just now. I remember his audition the most, because I just remember being both upset and glad. I was upset, because he made my audition seem like a whole bunch of crap. Which it was, I just didn’t want to think about it. I was glad, because I knew he was going to get the part and I wasn’t. If you couldn’t tell already, I didn’t want to be chosen. Doesn’t mean I intentionally sabotaged my audition. I tried, but I am just not good around people. I can act, but only when I’m by myself. Weird, I know.

After everyone did their auditions the teacher said we were going to now do improv. She calls up 4 people’s names and I’m glad that none of them were mine. Then, she says, “Wait… That’s not enough. I think we need five people. How about Tristan? Go up and join them.” I was so close. I remember mumbling the word, “Damn!” quietly, but loud enough for the girl next to me to hear it and laugh. I join the group with one of the students being the red-headed girl I mentioned earlier. The teacher said when says “boom” that we should all drop to the ground and act like how we would if we just heard a loud explosion.BOOM! We all drop and they start talking, while I keep thinking what to do, but can’t. I’m just thinking there lying on the floor and not doing anything. The red-headed girl yells out, “What could that have been? A bomb? A meteor?” I laugh, forgetting we were supposed to be in character and say, “Really? A meteor?” Her immediate reply is, “Don’t you sass me, Tristan!” I was quite confused. She remembered my name? I was sassing her? Wait! What are we doing here on the floor? Then, it all came back to me. The teacher says, “Alright you guys are done.” We all get up and we walk back to our seats and I can’t get the words out of my head for some reason. I really think this girl is pretty and the first words she say to me are, “Don’t sass me, Tristan!” It just felt weird.

The rest of the groups did their improvs, one of the groups being way too overdramatic and screaming, which even though it was funny did not impress the teacher. Anyway, she calls a few people’s names to stay to do some extra scenes and the rest leave. I was able to leave, so I called my mom and waited in the front of the school. My legs and heart rate were just uncontrollable at this point. I was extremely close to having a heart attack in the past few hours was all I could think about. I take out my phone and text my female friend:

That was the most terrifying experience I have ever had in my years of high school. Thank you. I needed that.

I didn’t quite look through it.. so, if I revealed anything I probably shouldn’t have.. well I’ll deal with it later.