Rejection. It’s never pretty, no matter the context.
Throughout our lives, we will face many situations that result in that fatal word; rejection.
Relationships, interviews, auditions, heck, even credit cards can get rejected.
Sometimes when we encounter this rejection, it can be hard to bounce back.
Here is a rejection story of mine –
I have been doing theatre for as far as I can remember. Granted I didn’t start acting classes until 6 or 7th grade, my life is like a performance, so I consider it theatre.
I have been a part of COUNTLESS productions. Big names, small names, well-known plays, original plays, you name it, I’ve done it.
I’ve played roles like Demeter in Cats, Diana Morales in A Chorus Line and Amber VonTussle in Hairspray.
Well, my lack of planning ahead and minimal caring of the future landed me at a technology school which lacks any sort of musical theatre program.
For a while it seemed my theatre days were in the past, as I spent 3 years off the stage and away from any productions.
Well, I began a co-op in the spring of this year, and became very close with my boss. I told her about my passion for theatre and she encouraged me to try getting back on the stage.
It wasn’t a crazy idea, it was something I was dying to do, she just gave me that little extra push to finally make it happen.
I reached out to my Facebook and Twitter friends for help finding a show in my area. A fellow theatre friend got back to me quickly and let me know about summer auditions for Legally Blonde: The Musical at a local jewish community center.
Now, let me just say, I LOVE Legally Blonde. I go on long car rides and listen to the soundtrack from start to finish, singing along and pretending like I’m apart of the show. So this seemed like more than the perfect opportunity.
I practiced for days and polished off my audition song, A Way Back to Then from Title of Show. I even got a fellow work friend to audition for the show with me.
I sang the song on break at work, in the shower, in my sleep. I knew it from front to back – back to front.
I should have mentioned earlier, I have CRAZY stage freight. I may be an outgoing big-mouth, but that doesn’t mean I’m not afraid for my life whenever I sing in front of people.
At my old theatre group, I would mess up every single one of my singing auditions, but my director knew that was my style and that I could perform in the moment when necessary.
So, as I was going into this new audition with a new theatre group, I was trying my best to pep talk myself down from the nerves. I knew my old ways wouldn’t get me through this time and I really needed to show off my talent.
Finally the audition day came. At work I could barely concentrate and kept replaying the song over and over again in my head. I was ready for it.
After work, my friend came over, we settled into my car, and headed off to the audition.
We signed in, were given an audition number, and had our pictures taken for the directors.
The nerves were starting to pick up, but I calmed them by talking with a few other auditionee’s about their audition songs and what to expect.
Finally, the director called us all into a big room for the dance audition. I started off in the back which hindered my learning ability a bit, but I did the best I could with what I had. We learned the dance – for those of you familiar with the show, the dance audition was Whipped into Shape – ran it five times, then broke into groups of 4 to do the steps in front of the directors.
Right before we started, the director said what any director would say, ‘If you mess up, just keep going and have fun.’ So of course I messed up a little, but thats just what I did. Kept a smile on and pushed through the dance.
After that part of the audition was over, I felt not good, not bad – just neutral. I knew I did the best I could and I still had a chance to save myself with my song.
As the dance auditions wrapped up, I mentally prepared myself. I was number 4, so only 3 singers stood ahead of me.
When it finally came my time to sing, I took a deep breath and entered the room. I sang my song and was honestly proud with my work! I didn’t go off pitch, I didn’t forget the words, I sang right through and even acted the whole song out. The only thing astray was I was a bit off with the accompanist, but my audition song was hard to follow so it wasn’t the end of the world.
I left the audition with a smile on my face and a good feeling in my heart. I showed them who I was and it felt great to finally get myself back out there. The rush of an audition was something I truly missed and it felt good to be back.
I called my sister directly after the audition and expressed my excitement. With my pretty solid audition and extensive resume of experience, we were both SURE I had bagged myself a callback.
There was one more day for auditions and the call back list was to be posted the next night.
I waited patiently, checking my email all the next day for any word.
Nothing, nothing, nothing.
After a full day of waiting, I decided to check the community center Facebook page for any information.
And there it was. In black and white. A cast list. Without my name on it.
I have never. NEVER. NEVER EVER EVER EVER not made it into a show in my life. So this hit me like a brick straight to the face. What? Didn’t make it? I reread the cast list up and down 4 times. Nope. No mistake. My name wasn’t on there.
I can’t even express how I felt in that moment. It wasn’t just about this show, it felt like every role I worked for my in life was a fluke. Was I really that bad? No matter what, I think my audition should have at least earned me a spot in the chorus…
I replayed the audition in my head a million times. WHAT did I do wrong? How could I possibly not have made it? I know it wasn’t a perfect audition, but I thought I had given enough personality to show them what I was made of.
I dwelled and dwelled some more. I had nightmares about the audition for weeks after. Each time a different story – yes it was that serious.
No one can truly understand how horrible this feeling was, it was a blow.
But then time went by. I remembered a saying one of my favorite professors said, “You are not your work, your work is not you.”
This audition rejection meant nothing. Everything I worked for in the past can’t be taken away from me, and just because I didn’t make it in this show doesn’t mean I am a failure at acting.
In my reality, this theatre group did not know what it was missing! I’m a pretty decent actress if I do say so myself.
I love acting, and I couldn’t let this one show rid me of something I love.
The moral to this story is you can’t take rejection to heart. This show was just not for me. Rather it be politics, a pre-cast or just simply a bad audition, everything happens for a reason and I just wasn’t meant to be in this show.
– Hey, there is a silver lining here! I now get to take a two week vacation to Cali with my mom and sister which I couldn’t have done if I was in the show! –
Maybe this moment wasn’t for me, but there are more to come.
I’m certain I will end up where I need to go, no matter how much rejection is to come in the future.
It may be a while before I audition for a show again, but I will not give up.
What’s meant to be will find it’s way, and that’s what I truly believe.