"I was born ready."
-- My response to Kim Miscia, the casting director who asked if I was ready for my final call-back for "The Diary of Anne Frank" on Broadway.
It's a short one tonight my little blades as I find myself exhausted... But -- while I was sitting down to write tonight, I thought about all of the feedback I am getting in my life these days:
"Keep going, Kieren!" "What can we do with all of your great energy?" "Thank you for giving it your best shot!" "This is your year, I can tell!" "You are SO close!!!"
And I think about my last great audition -- and as I sat with my new dear friend and neighbor, Kristen, tonight, on the castle steps, she said those last words to me -- and then, she repeated, "I can feel it. I know it."
Then, I thought back to my first big break. Broadway. And I remembered how I'd gotten one Broadway audition before the one I booked. It was for a Neil Simon play -- and I didn't feel too well, I'd had a date the night before and when William Morris called me with the audition, I was too excited to say can I go in the day after tomorrow? And so -- when I went in to read, the feedback was that I was "too green." Which though I admittedly was a kid -- I was not green at all. I was kind of sick. And thus, off. Off -- yes. Green -- no.
So, I pulled myself up after that and saw a posting for the role of Margot Frank in Backstage while I was babysitting a few nights later. I called William Morris -- specifically the office of David Kalodner -- the agent who was "hip-pocketing" me most fervently. And I left a message, asking if they could get me in on the audition.
And they got me back in and it went on for a few months, actually. And I became entrenched in this play. I worked and worked and worked with my friend and acting classmate who was as tireless as I. We'd meet in Carnegie Hall at noon on a Thursday, 6:12pm on a Saturday, 8am on a Sunday, 4:20-4:50pm on a Monday -- basically, we met whenever it was remotely possible. And we "repeated" -- our great late teacher Freddy Kareman's rif on the Meisner Technique. And we integrated the script -- my lines. And I studied the play and Margot -- me.
And so, I began soundtracking my studying. I'd play my Dad's lilting piano music on my walkman. Bright yellow Sony walkman. I'd go over the lines in my head, I'd spent so much time on them that all Freddy could say about my upcoming final call-back to Dep was, "If she takes her time, she'll be just fine."
Two months after my first audition, Kim Miscia walked back towards the bathroom, where I sat on the floor, with my headphones on, my "Margot Frank" Gap beigey-pink plain-ish audition dress, an my eyes lit up to the heavens -- as the emotions stirring within me were strong, deep.
And she sort of knelt down to me and asked kindly, "Are you ready, Kieren?"
To which I replied, "I was born ready."
And the truth is, I was. I was born ready. This is what I was meant to do.
And that moment encapsulated a feeling, a gut feeling, I'd had since I was little. A knowing.
I booked the gig. Not only did I book the role of Margot -- but they offered me the understudy roles of Margot, Miep Gies and Anne herself!!!
I was blessed. Dipped in the holy waters. Baptized as a great actress. An ingenue in her Broadway debut.
And one of the lessons I took away from that experience was to "turn a period into a comma." The first audition -- it wasn't the end -- merely the beginning. I took it and I ran. I saw beyond it and I just knew, I was certain that something even greater lay waiting for me very very shortly.
And it was.
"The Diary of Anne Frank" lasted eight and a half months on Broadway. The Neil Simon play I first auditioned for closed after a month and a half. I actually got to see it -- ti was dismal.
And so... I remind myself as I remind all of you.
These are not periods -- these seemingly closed door experiences. They are commas -- or rather it is up to us to see them as such. Because of course, how we see things is indeed how they are.
That Neil Simon play was not at all a period. It was a comma.
And my HUGE audition last week was but a comma. Maybe this one will come back to me -- they'll decide I am the perfect age and look for it.
And if they do not -- big mistake, HUGE!!! (a la Pretty Woman) -- then I shall see it as merely a comma. Leading to an even grander second half.
Kind of like my Browdway. I could not have asked for a more beautiful beginning as an actress.
And now -- dear blades, I am READY for MY SECOND ACT.