Here’s a photo from a Paid Audition for a 1930s Circus Movie. No Clown Make-Up requested, just wear your Costume and have a 3 minute Act ready to perform in front of a Big Shot Director and his Flunkies. Oh…and do this with 8 other Clowns in a Huge Rehearsal Hall Somewhere in the Valley (down the street from Busch Gardens where I had my High School Prom). There’s an Old TV Christmas Variety Show Winter Wonderland Forest Set made for Mitzi Gayner that’s pushed to the side of the room and everyone is juggling and dancing and throwing cream pies pretending it ain’t there. The film will Star Several Oscar Winners who run-away and join the Circus, for a change. There is excitement in the air.
75 Professional Various Circus performers are rehearsing outside in a Parking Lot waiting their turn. It seems we all know each other & we greet many with “Hi Clown!” Sitting over there is The Fat Lady (she hasn’t sung yet). 2 Tall Guys both over 8 feet are dressed in Black with Shaved Heads (I say “Sup?” to the one I recently worked with and he answers “Bro!”). Lots of Guys on Stilts in Amazing Costumes (including a 20 Foot Long Tux and a guy in a fabulous Uncle Sam Red White & Blue Number that stops traffic). People are Juggling and Eating Fire. The Sexy Acrobatic Horse Back Riding Gals are all around 21 years & dressed like Ginger Rodgers and Carole Lombard. Their Hair is in Pin Curls or Short Blonde Wavy Bobs. Ooh Lah Lah. The Band Musicians practicing a jazzy “Stardust” on Horns are dressed like Hoagy Carmichael and making moves on the Girls, for a change.
A Little Person moseys up dressed like a Mini-Roy Rodgers and crows “Yippee-I-Oh-Ki-Yay!” while doing Whip Rope Lasso tricks. WHACK! Lots of Nun Chucks spinning (that Hawaiian thing Bette Midler does). A Casting Woman in Charge is doing an excellent Eve Arden impression and is funny and positive and much much much too loud. Luckily (and kindly) she laughs at most everything during our Auditions and comes off like Auntie Shill. Yay nice Casting Lady.
There are several S+M Highly Tattooed Trapeze Acts that try unsuccessfully to talk their way into the Audition. Their stuff is so obviously wrong for this Period Piece that a Stilt Walker saunters by saying “Good Luck with that Ladies”. They groan. 5 Clowns without appointments were turned away and several of us gloat (sorry). I got this appointment from a Casting Web Site. They work! Do too!
My Audition: Opened with “I’m here to read for HAMLET.” I then leaned over to give Eve Arden a Long Yellow Doggie Animal Balloon and let it go the second she grabbed for it (it was untied & blew away Phhhttt!…OOOps!). 2 Big Laughs. I Tap Dance while I show my New Red Derby empty and after saying “Nothin’ up my Sleeve” I pull a 12 foot Yellow and Red Thin Polka Dotted Scarf out from my Sleeve. By coincidence the Scarf matches my Costume…who knew? I slowly Jump Rope with the Scarf and instead of really Jumping I Stop & Step Over it while my Harpo Horn blasts HONK. Laugh. Repeat Bit. HONK. Another Laugh. I say “Those other Clowns are not the only ones who can Juggle Scarves.” The more I brag how good I am the more I bungle the Scarves. Laughs, Applause & Exit before they cut me off (5 of the 9 Acts were given the hook when Eve Arden interrupted with “Speed it up dear”). Not me.
A week later I find out I did not get a Call Back. I am not bitter, for a change. Everyone involved is a Total Pro and I wish them well on their sorry ass project that I wouldn’t want to do anyways. So there.