Toto, we’re not in Perth anymore
Grab a coffee, grab a chai, grab an iced chocolate (or even a wine!) and join Matilda Moran for her first column on AussieTheatre.com!
From catching up with friends on the East Coast, to auditions and the random tornado not far from my home, this first month out has got me feeling like Dorothy in Oz. Literally. I’m in a new city, frequently bursting into song, accompanied by a furry friend (mine is of the feline variety), and I’m surrounded by munchkins (well, everyone seems short when you’re as tall as I am). During my Perth-Sydney-Melbourne-Sydney-Melbourne-Sydney trip over the past few weeks, I’ve already had so many adventures and learnt a few important lessons.
In this industry, being punctual is so important. I’ve been to Melbourne many times and know that public transport there is super easy to navigate- well it should be. Being the control freak I am, I ensured I left tonnes of extra time to get to each destination. Which I usually ended up needing. Disasters involved late trams, taking trams in the wrong direction, ubers stuck in traffic, and ending up miles away on the wrong train line at midnight. Moral of the story; always leave lots of extra time and download a good public transport app.
Directly after one of these transport fails, I also made another important discovery. Wearing blue to a film/ TV casting in Melbourne is not as clever as you think. Yes, blue seems to be a wonderful flattering colour for every skin tone on screen; hence why 95% of our class arrived sporting tops in identical shades of blue. What we didn’t realise was that 95% of the backdrops they filmed against would also be blue, resulting in a whole class of seemingly disembodied heads on camera.
I’ve learnt from these mistakes, but some issues are going to take a little more time to work around. During a regular day in the middle of my second year at WAAPA, my phone told me it would take 5 minutes to drive from work to home. Problem was, I was already at home and my phone was convinced that I now lived on campus, because I spent more time there than at my actual house. As a result of constantly being surrounded by a comfortable, extroverted cohort, we’ve completely forgotten what acceptable public behaviour is. Belting a song in the middle of a crowded shopping centre and stretching at airport gates soon became minor offences. Reading lines loudly opposite a partner on the train was the first time alarm bells went off, and things got worse from there. The list of felonies now include: Getting emotionally involved in a song playing in my earphones whilst walking in the city, putting on accents when ordering food, singing Disney songs a little too loudly to pass the time at work, and using an extra thick hot chocolate as makeup rather than food in a café (offenders include 3 of my classmates). Perhaps it will take time to learn how to be a normal human being again- or maybe we’re all “Next to Normal” now… I believe I may have a problem.
I’m also starting to believe this “Christmas Break in the Industry” is a myth created to give all graduates a false sense of imminent relaxation. It’s the week of Christmas, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a busier month of auditions in my life. I also didn’t ever think I would enjoy auditioning so much! Every panel I’ve had the pleasure of meeting are so kind and supportive, and work hard to help you show your best. In a busy week, I had 4 auditions for different productions and thought my brain might explode from the all the new material I’d crammed in. The panels, however, made me feel completely confident and at ease as we got to know each other. At one dance call, an assistant in the waiting room continuously went over the routine and individually helped anybody who asked before we were called back in.I always thought the mock auditions we were assessed on at drama school were a friendly, encouraging version of what the real world had in store; I now realise they were accurate and prepared us so well for the real situation.
From applauding at the end of a monologue to providing a dance warmup, I’m overwhelmed with how genuinely thoughtful all the casting teams have been. I’m so grateful to be entering such a supportive and thriving industry, and can’t wait to see what adventures it has in store for 2016.