Things were pretty hectic the weeks following the party. With Halloween, Les Miz auditions and the Semester Showcase coming up, the students were abuzz discussing possible song choices, costume ideas, and audition pieces, myself included. I found myself comparing the pros and cons of different monologues and songs for the audition with Ethan and my friends at any chance I got, trying to find the perfect choices. Abigail, Ethan and I spent a lot of time in the Drama and Music sections of the library, poring over plays and sheet music. When I wasn’t hunting for audition pieces, I worked on the massive amount of homework that was beginning to pile up. With the school year in full swing, the teachers had opened the floodgates, much to the dismay of us students. I spent a copious amount of time planning my Halloween costume. Ethan and I had decided to go as Tony and Maria from West Side Story. It was an easy enough costume: a white dress with a red sash and red shoes, as well as a dark wig. Simple, but surprisingly hard to find in stores. I already owned the shoes, but the dress and wig were going to be harder. On a whim one day, I went down to the costume archive behind the auditorium and found the perfect dress and sash. The tag said it was from a 1998 school production of West Side Story. I had requested to rent it for Halloween, and the paperwork was pending. As for the wig, the costume archive also had an extensive wig collection. I had requested a shoulder-length dark brown wig with a slight flip; it looked almost exactly like Natalie Wood’s hair in the movie. I had gotten the wig quickly, and I put it in a hatbox under my bed until Halloween. Ethan already had dark hair like Tony, so he didn’t need a wig. He did, however, rent Tony’s outfit from the costume archive after I told him about the dress. We were pretty psyched about Halloween, but even more excited about the Semester Showcase. It wasn’t for a few weeks, but we had already picked out a song: When the Stars Go Blue, as performed by The Corrs and Bono. Ethan had already chosen it as a leading choice, and I surprised him by telling him that it was one of my favorite songs. We had automatically agreed that it was the perfect song. However, we hadn’t begun practicing yet, as auditions were proving to require much more of our attention.
One week before auditions, and I still hadn’t found anything that shouted out to me. I strolled into the library wearing a black wrap top, jeans, and black UGGS, picked up a few music books and plays, and sat down at a table in the corner. I shrugged off my gray shawl and began flipping through the papers. I pushed my currently curly hair behind my ear, searching through the notes and lines, waiting for something to call out to me. I was beginning to get nervous; what if I never found anything? They would call my name, I would walk up there and not have anything prepared, and everyone would laugh at me…
I looked up, startled. Ms. Marlin (er, Kendra) was standing there in her usual black dress, her arms full of books. She was looking at me with an inquisitive expression. I nodded. Kendra shifted the books in her arms and peered over at my piles of books and sheet music. “Found anything yet?” she asked. I paused, then shook my head and blushed. Kendra was the director of the Les Miz production. I probably looked extremely unprofessional, picking out a monologue and song only a week before auditions. She probably thought I was a slacker. “I just can’t seem to find anything that shouts out to me.” Kendra cocked her head in thought, then set her books down and reached for a play anthology next to my elbow. She picked it up and began thumbing through it. “What part are you auditioning for?” she asked. “Fantine.” I answered. She nodded, still leafing through the book. “You’ll definitely want to pick a dramatic monologue; comedic pieces won’t show me that you can portray grief and hopelessness convincingly.” She set the book down in dissatisfaction and picked up another. “And you’ll want to keep it on the short side; monologues that are too lengthy can start to feel monotonous.” She paused at one page, then dog-eared it and set it down in front of me. “Give this a try.” I glanced at the title: Tennessee Williams: Plays 1937-1955. Before I comment, Kendra distracted me by filing through a stack of sheet music. “The role of Fantine is a mezzo-soprano with a strong belt; it also demands that you be able to hold notes for a considerable amount of time. Your song should showcase your ability to do so.” She pulled out a sheet with a flourish and laid it down on top of the book. “I think this will do nicely.” She gathered up her books and gave me a small smile. “I look forward to seeing you audition, Vivian. I hope you have wonderful evening. And if you ever need any help with anything else, please don’t hesitate to ask.” And then she left. I was left sitting there with my mouth hanging slightly open. I blinked stupidly, and then looked down at the selection. My mouth opened even wider. The song she had selected had been originally performed by one of the most immortal, legendary, and iconic women in the history of entertainment. Not to mention the fact that an extremely popular and talented young performer had recently covered it. I felt that the task of performing it would seem a bit…done. I also didn’t feel up to the task. It was too daunting. I wasn’t good enough to sing this…or was I? I had been singing this song into a hairbrush ever since I first heard it at the age of eight. I had even performed it at my Grandpa’s eight-second birthday party; a year after my Grandma had died. He had told me that I had sounded just like her, a compliment considering the fact that my Grandma had sung this song in a concert at Carnegie Hall showcasing famous Broadway songs. Everybody had agreed that I sounded great singing it, but then again, they were my family. They couldn’t very well tell me that I didn’t sound good. I would just have to go for it, and hope for the best. As I gathered up my things and headed for the front desk, I realized that I hadn’t thanked Kendra. I would have to thank her on audition day. Hopefully it would go well.