Monday, February 02, 2009

GroundHog Day

Stupid groundhog.

Anyway, here's a recap of my trip to NY. Here's what I know for sure now, that I didn't before I left. I'm not going to Yale. I'm not going to any of the other schools that I didn't specifically apply to (the ones that showed up for the URTAs). New York actually can be fun to visit. Especially when you can stay for free with your brother and he buys you all your meals.

I flew out on Saturday in a tiny little plane that made me slightly airsick during landing. We had a powerful tailwind and arrived 40 minutes ahead of schedule. Not bad for a flight that should have taken an hour and a half! I took a cab from LaGuardia to the corner of 87th and 3rd, then stood outside in a freezing gale for what seemed like 20 minutes waiting for Steve. (It was probably about 3 minutes, but it was really cold!) We settled in to his apartment and he promptly got me hooked on past episodes of "LOST", a show I swore I'd never watch, since it seemed such a pain to understand. And yes, it is, but I also enjoyed it a lot. After feeling like a slug for awhile, I dragged Steve outside to show me his neighborhood.
We walked up to a little park along the East River, had a nice chat, and took a short subway hop home. We ordered pizza and watched more "LOST."

On Sunday, I took the Metro-North railroad from Grand Central up to New Haven. I decided to walk from Union Station to the Yale campus, which went fine after only one short stint of walking the wrong way for about 6 blocks. I found the campus and called my friend Cassie, arranging to meet up after the audition. I was still a couple of hours early, so I found a nice vegetarian place for lunch and had some hummus, falafel, tabouli, and baba ganoush. I think I mostly spelled those right. And no, I still don't know what baba ganoush is, but the falafel was really delicious. So then I had my Yale audition. There were 16 of us assigned to the 2:00 hour. We met with the auditioners (two of the heads of the MFA drama program) to hear that they were really very nice people, and if we don't make it don't take it personally, and yadda yadda. The same speech I was to hear about six times over the course of the week. We then went in one at a time and did our two contrasting monologues in four minutes or less, and then waited for the end of the hour callbacks to be posted. Then there were to be end of the day callbacks, and then another round of callbacks at the end of February. I have two friends who auditioned for the Directing program in past years, and both were called back several times, and both ended up not being accepted into the program. So I decided that if they weren't going to accept me, I'd rather know right away rather than being put through the suspense. So, they obliged me by not even asking me to the end of the hour callbacks. And, although I was of course disappointed not to even make it past the first round, I was glad that the decision came sooner rather than later, and I can definitely cross Yale off the maybe list. If only I could get my $100 application fee back.

Anyway, next I met up with Cassie and we went out for a bite to eat.
Except the place we went to wasn't serving food at that hour (it was about 4:00 and they didn't start dinner service until 5:00), so we had tea until 5:00 and then ordered dinner. I went to CMU with Cassie and we survived the Directing program together. We were even roomates for a year and loved each other, and fought a lot, and argued over housekeeping roles, and learned a tremendous amount from each other. She's almost intimidatingly intelligent and insightful, and has a way of making clarifying statements about life situations that make you reconsider all your previous assumptions and strive to dig a little deeper into yourself. She's also warm, thoughtful, and embracing. I find her incredibly challenging, stimulating, and encouraging to be around, and can't imagine how I've gone for so long without her presence in my life. So after our dinner, I took the train back to Grand Central, and the subway back to Steve's apartment, and watched some more "LOST" until passing out.
Monday I had the audition for Brown. I applied to both the acting and directing programs, and so had separate auditions and interviews for each. I met with the head of the MFA Directing program first, and I think it went okay, except I didn't have any "supporting materials" with me and I think she expected me to. Things such as photos from shows, press clippings, director's notes, etc. First of all, I don't have many of those, and secondly, I didn't really want to lug them to New York for one interview. It said such material was welcome, but not necessary. So anyway, we talked about the program, and what my vision of theater is, and what hers is, and a lot about motherhood (she has two children, ages three and five.) I think we hit it off personally, but I don't think I impressed her professionally. They only accept two people into the directing program. Next I auditioned for the heads of the MFA Acting program, and did my two contrasting monologues in under three minutes, and chatted with them for a bit. They were very nice, and seemed to like the audition. Two hours later there was an orientation meeting where they explained about the program. They are big into collaboration and the making of the "whole theater artist", so I think it's a plus that I applied to both programs. I REALLY liked the sound of the program, and would love to be accepted there. That said, I'm trying to remain expectation free. I should hear from them one way or the other by the end of February.

After I was done there, I walked around a little by Central Park, spent some time in FAO Schwartz, and window shopped on Madison Ave. Then Steve and Sue and I went out to dinner at a nice French place where I had scallops and leeks, and a really nice wine.
Tuesday was the Screening audition for the URTAs. There were about 75 people there for the orientation meeting, and we each auditioned for two judges (two contrasting monologues in under 3 minutes) who determined whether or not you were worthy to be seen by the actual representatives from the 30 or so schools that attend. I ran into someone from the murder mysteries that I've worked with, and it was nice to see a familiar face! I was, again, one of the oldest people in the room. That was a theme for the whole week, by the way. 99 percent of the women seemed to be right out of undergrad school. The men had a few older looking representatives, but most were still in their twenties. At the screening audition, I saw one women who looked slightly older than me, and one man who was a lot older. He warmed up by doing Tai Chi in the middle of the room. The orientation was at 8:30 and my audition was at 11:30. Then we had to come back tor the results at 5:00. After my audition, I went back to Steve's and fell asleep. I'd had every intention of getting some packing done for him, but I guess I was tired! So I went back at 5:00 to get my results and was very happy to see I'd been passed on to the final auditions! (The guy I knew from Pittsburgh was not.) That was a good night.

Then Steve and I and his friend Lauren went to a barbecue place for dinner, and then met up with Sue for dessert at a German place, where she was hit on by a very drunk guy at the bar. He liked her glasses. And her stylllle. We had chocolate fondue. Yummy!

Wednesday was another 8:30 call for orientation for the Final URTA auditions. Mine was at 9:52, and the results would be in at three. I had coffee at Starbucks with a nice girl from New Haven named Iris (whose first choice school is Yale). She was one of the "older" women - 25. It was slushy and rainy on Wednesday, and NOT very fun to try to walk around, but I decided to stick it out, and walked over to the Museum of Modern Art for awhile. And I decided, yeah, I really still don't like most modern art. But it was cool to see the actual Andy Warhols:
and Jackson Pollocks:
and Van Goghs:
So I went back for the results at 3:00, and received a disappointment. The schools that are interested in you schedule an interview that day at the hotel. So you don't know until your receive your results whether you'll be seeing no one, or a whole slew of people keeping you there until late in the evening. It is for these interviews that you are supposed to bring 10 copies of your headshot, resume, and school transcript. I received one request for an interview, from the University of Wisconsin. And there were two other people there with me. I think they called back everyone, in order to try to recruit people to their school, because, let's face it, it's in Wisconsin. So that was disappointing. Not that there were any schools there that I was dying to go to, but there were several I was at least interested in, and if anyone was going to do the turning down, I wanted it to be me!

That night, I went back to Steve's and DID do some packing, ordered pizza again, and watched more "LOST". I flew out Thursday morning and got home without incident.

Overall, it was a good trip. I enjoyed the sights of New York
and travelled around without any problems whatsoever (which I had been worried about.) I felt I auditioned well each time. I was confident, prepared, did my monologues well, and received good feedback overall. I did everything right, that I had any control over. I was somewhat disappointed in the return on that investment, but again, those are things I have no control over. I sort of wish I had been at this place 10 years ago, but I wasn't. I didn't want this 10 years ago, I wanted my babies. And I have them, and they're amazing.

So whatever works out, I'm along for the ride. I should know within about six weeks what all the schools I actually applied to decide, and I'll go from there.



M.M. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M.M. said...

Whew! I'm exhausted just reading it all!! Thank for sharing it.
Whatever God has in mind for you will be forthcoming. Just keep up the good work all the way around. Corrected spelling this time.

Melissa said...

You auditioned for Brown in NY? I was hoping for a Providence trip...You can still come, if you want!

Blackbird said...

I hear tell there are universities in DC, too. And a collapsed real estate market with lots of houses sitting around unsold. And the best public schools in the country. And at least two theater companies in Bethesda alone.

I'm just sayin' said...

Your photos are beautiful. Especially like that NYC street one - the colors are calling me!
That Cassie chick sounds like a trip. Don't be intimidated; she's sees what you do.
Whatever school you choose, they'll be lucky to have you.

Angela said...

University of Wisconsin is actually a really interesting program. And I saw a production of "Crumbs from the Table of Joy" that they brought to the American College Theatre Festival in 2006 that was sensational. One of the professors there is, I've been told, one of the best Shakespeare coaches and "verse nurses" in the country. And I believe that they have a Kabuki expert on faculty as well. Definitely look into it and don't assume that they called EVERYONE back.