Before and after Harold auditions I kept repeating a phrase to everyone who asked me about it. “Now would be a really bad time for me to get on a team.” This is true. I’m currently undergoing one of the most stressful times of my life. I recognize that saying “period extreme stress” while referring to the months leading to college graduation automatically places me in a position of privilege. Other people undergo far greater stresses and handle them better. Right now, I’m not super concerned with that. I don’t really care what’s “normal.” This is new to me. I have never not known what I would be doing six months in the future and now I’m about to graduate college with a degree in American Studies and no job.
For the past year I’ve let my improv take a back seat to my post-grad concerns. I intern at least 32 hours per week at a dream internship, but between that and school I have little room to improvise or even watch improv. Other things that take up my time and mental energy include attending class, writing my thesis, writing other homework, hanging out with the occasional friend, and exercising to try to combat the stress from everything else. With all of these things I feel overwhelmed and somehow, the one thing I am really passionate about, improv, has fallen to the wayside.
I knew going into my audition that the odds were stacked against me. Just looking at the sheer numbers, most people will not get a callback and even fewer will make a team. It has been well over a year since I have been on a regular practice team while others practice four days a week and see and perform in shows every other day. I’m probably the least deserving to get on a team right now.
Still, my ego thought that there was a chance I could walk into the audition room and blow the lid off of that joint. I wanted to get on a Harold team because I love improv but also because it would give my life some stability in the coming months. The former is a good reason to want to get on a team. The latter is a terrible reason. Right now, it probably had the greater degree of control over me and it probably showed. My audition did not convey my genuine love of improv nor did it convey the ability that I have to produce two good scenes. I did a terrible job. I felt it while I was in my scenes and I felt it on the back line. I stunk and I had no one to blame but myself.
A good friend and I have been talking about the difficulty of living up to the words that we espoused pre-audition. I said, “Now would be a really bad time for me to get on a team.” That’s still true but my own internal stressors caused me to grasp for it in weird ways, hoping it could act as some sort of a raft. That’s the wrong approach to take. Anyway, it is still true that getting on a team would be bad for me right now and I certainly don’t deserve to be on a team, but that doesn’t mean my ego isn’t taking a hit. Coming from a place of privilege, it’s hard not to get what I want and it’s hard to be in a place of uncertainty.