I took Tallulah to her first audition yesterday evening.
Quite a few of Tilly’s friends are in a local amateur dramatics group who are putting on a big musical based show in the autumn. It will feature medleys of sixty three songs from thirty two musicals, and they are auditioning for three junior members of the cast.
Tilly’s friends thought Tallulah would be perfect for the role and encouraged her to audition.
So, last night I dutifully took her to the physiotherapy department of the Leicester Royal Infirmary where, naturally, the auditions were to take place.
I have learned many things from this process.
The first is that I still bloody hate musicals. If I have to hear Supercalifragilistic one more time I will honestly commit murder. Blood will run down the streets, which given that events seem to take place in a hospital, will probably be appropriate. I cannot imagine anything worse than sixty three songs from thirty two musicals in one gigantic melange of jazz hands and fish net tights. Honestly. I could weep.
The second is that I am absolutely not and never will be, a show business mother. I wanted to leave as soon as we arrived. I spent the entire time I was waiting for the audition process to unfold alternating between being bored out of my skull or irritated to death. I was not, as the Director suggested, nervous for Tallulah. It never occurred to me to be nervous for her. She’s wonderful. I don’t need a man with a clip board to tell me that. I don’t think she will be more wonderful if she gets the part. I also think that if she doesn’t get the part she will learn as much as if she does, so we’re quids in frankly.
Thank God I had a book with me, and I can only bitterly bemoan the lack of biscuits to succour the wounded.
I do not care if Jacinta has grade twelve oboe with added Japanese waltzing honours. I am not interested in where you can get cut price pan stick or how many extra curricular baton twirling lessons you can fit into one twenty four hour period. I was amazed to find that one woman even had her dog. HER DOG, in a show and had to wait four hours every single night for the DOG (the BLOODY DOG) to come off stage before she could go home, and presumably plunge face first into a vat of gin.
I also learned that I definitely do not have any leanings towards stardom myself. At one point the director of the show decided to do vocal warm ups with the parents still in the room, so that the kids would be relaxed into the audition process. We would then be sent away to a sound proof booth (I wish) for the remainder of the audition, so that our presence didn’t make the kids nervous.
The children were singing Let’s Go Fly a Kite from Mary Poppins. The director, after a few run throughs, decided to swell the numbers. He suggested that the parents also sing. There was tittering from the parents.
Except from me. The parent who delivered the evil death stare.
We launched into song. Well, they did. Half way through the ninety third chorus the director caught my eye and raised an eyebrow. I took his eyebrow and raised him.
So here’s the thing.
We don’t know if Tallulah got the part yet.
Part of me hopes she does. I love her. I think she is incredibly talented (despite her penchant for Taylor Swift and musical theatre, both of which are inexplicable and draining), and I want her to do well in whatever path she chooses in life, and if this is the path she has chosen, so be it.
Part of me desperately hopes she doesn’t.
I know this is very wrong of me. It is not the attitude to have etc.
How do people do this? I don’t just mean parents of children who want to be actors, or singers or cellists or who embrace the dramatic arts. It must be like this for children who want to be olympic swimmers or acrobats or take up long distance cycling.
You see, all these things take an enormous amount of commitment and dedication. It’s all that Kids from Fame crap about: ‘Fame Costs. And RIGHT HERE’s Where You Start Paying. IN SWEAT.’
This is how it is. If you want to be Taylor Swift, or Darcey Bussell or Mo Farah, you can’t trot along once a week for an hour and fling yourself about and then go home for chips. You’ve got to work at it. Really, really work at it, and for a long time. Years in fact. Years that should ideally start when you’re knee high to Julie Andrews and go from there.
This is all very well. I totally get it. I am a huge believer in hard work.
It also means hard work for parents. It means hours of driving, hours of waiting, hours of paying, hours of listening/watching/supporting etc. How do people do this?
I am so conflicted about this. Not only because I am idle and selfish and do not want to spend the next six months of my life sitting on a hard plastic chair in the physic department of the Royal Infirmary wondering if I can hang myself from the parallel bars, although that is a factor.
What do you do if you have other children? Other children who need your time and attention as much as this one? Other children who have hopes and dreams and aspirations, even if those aspirations are only to see you at dinner time once in a while, or not to have to sit on a sofa infested with sequins. How do you balance the needs and desires of the one against the many when they are all deserving?
It’s not that the other two resent the time we already spend with Tallulah on music lessons and singing lessons etc. They love her. They will be over the moon if she gets this part, and the first in the front row with the pom poms and the glitter canons, but if she gets this role there will be two rehearsals a week, on top of the lessons she already has, and as the date of the show gets nearer, this number will undoubtedly rise. There is only one of me, and three of them, and Jason who works long and erratic hours so can only be relied upon some of the time. What about all the other things in life that everyone else wants to do, when is there time for those things?
Maybe I am being overly worried. I suspect I am.
But, if she doesn’t get this audition, there will be others now, and this is the thin end of the wedge, and these are things we have to think about, and it’s tricky. I have no answers. I just pray to a benevolent God who, as my grandmother used to say; ‘Never gives you more than you can bear.’ I also pray for my cousin to hurry up with that time machine. He made the prototype in 1991. Surely it must be ready by now.