Welcome to Psalm 2. If you haven’t read Psalm 1 I recommend you do.
I thought to myself, “Why am I the only one in the room?” At every audition I have ever gone to in my hometown of Minneapolis they were packed with actors preparing. In my day, I have seen some odd ways to prepare. At an audition for an amusement park TV commercial casting for the role of “Urban Dad,” I saw one handsome Midwestern guy, my nemesis, who’d been at just about every audition I’ve been, in the corner of the room doing breathing exercises. He’d start with heavy petting breathy sounds, leading to what a cat being neutered without anesthesia might sound like and ending with the sound of a baritone tugboat horn. I am not sure if he was doing it to psyche out the competition or it was legit. Others would practice speaking their lines aloud to themselves. And others were staring off into space–perhaps meditating. I was one of those guys who simply read and memorized the lines.
In this case, sitting in the room with no sides I was at a loss as to what to do. I guess I could pray again. No, that would be too greedy of me asking for the same thing twice. I simply gotta trust the first one got through. Or at the very least it’s on the way and will be answered the moment I step on that stage as I inhabit the role of the Lord’s only begotten son.
I realized that I forgot to give the receptionist my name and just as I was about to get up she screamed, “Next!” Not sure why she had to scream in such a small reception room or even say next, I was the only one in the room. Now on my feet I encountered a problem–three doors. Not knowing which one to choose, I started working my way from right to left. Just as I was about to reach for the handle the receptionist screamed, “Not that one!” Reaching for the middle she repeated, “Not that one!” Thinking to myself, “Is this all you got to offer?” I went over to the far left door. No scream.
Upon entering I found myself in the back of the theater. With no windows and black painted walls, now I know why they call it a black box theater. I felt as if were entering a no man’s land between heaven and hell. After a thought like that, I may have begun embodying the role of Jesus, albeit a little early. The Lord works on a different timeline I guess.
At the front of the theater under an island of light stood who I assumed to be the director. Upon noticing my entrance he screamed, “Are you the one from Minneapolis?” I replied, “I am the one.” Oh, I really am becoming Jesus. “Well come on stage so I can get a look at you,” he screamed. Thinking, “Why does everyone scream?” The answer came as soon as I stepped on the stage. Standing in front of me was a beer gutted elderly man with long stringy hair cascading over his Tommy Lee Jones craggily face. What made matters worse was his attempt at a John Waters mustache, which would put him in the category as either a pedophile or perv. Oh, and the reason for the screaming–hearing aids.
All this judgment I made in advance was nullified the moment I got up on stage with him. He made me feel welcome and the center of attention in such a kind way that any nervousness dissipated. We exchanged a few pleasantries and he asked how my acting teacher in Minneapolis was doing. He then proceeded to tell me the gist of the play and the role of Jesus I would be auditioning for.
“This is an avant-garde version of the Nativity play. There will be no speaking at all. You will be acting from the essence of your soul,” he explained. Okay, I never studied soul acting in any class. I had no idea what he was talking about. I wanted to ask him how to do that, but I didn’t want to give away that fact. He continued, “There will be two weeks of rehearsal. I will be directing this fifteen person ensemble of actors.” Thinking to myself, “I believe there are really only six maybe seven at most in the Nativity.” Again I refrained from speaking my mind. He continued, “Each rehearsal as I direct, you will remove an article of clothing while on stage. The idea, by the end of rehearsals you will be completely naked, vulnerable and comfortable enough on stage with nothing but your soul for the audience to feel.” Okay, now I had a question. “I will be naked on stage during the performance?” He chuckled like I imagined John Waters might and said,”Well of course you will my son.” Okay, I take it all back the mustache, stringy hair, I should have trusted my first judgmental instinct. This sounds more like the making of an orgy than a nativity. Or worse, it’s an orgy in a nativity. Oh the horror. I’d surely end up in hell.
I could have feigned illness or another appointment to get myself out of this situation, but not wanting to tarnish my acting teacher”s reputation, I soldiered on as long as I could keep my clothes on during the audition. Thankfully that was the case as he asked me to simply stand on stage under the spotlight as he went to sit in the front row. Now’s my chance, another foxhole prayer, “Dear LORD please do NOT let me embody Jesus during this two-minute audition. HEAR MY PRAYER PLEASE! Amen.”
As he sat down and looked up at me he said, “Action.” Thinking to myself, “I thought action was done in movies and television. Besides what action am I to take? I was never given any direction.” So I just stood on the stage thinking about what I was going to eat after this debacle of an audition. And for what seemed like an eternity might feel if I were in hell, he finally said,”Cut!” Cut? Cut what? He stood up rushed the stage and thanked me for my time. I guess this was the end of the audition. I returned the thanks and started walking up the stairs. Not wanting to engage any further the walk turned into a slight jog. And just as I reached the door he screamed, “I’ll be in touch.” “I bet you will,” I thought. “Thanks,” I screamed back. “When hell freezes over would I take that role,” I murmured.
In the end I never head back from him, but my Minneapolis acting teacher left me a voicemail message saying, “You had the presence of Jesus, but not the right hairstyle.” Wait, isn’t that why they have costumes and props? I didn’t push it.
Well there you have it, I was, Almost Jesus.