Put an ‘F’ On There and Let Me Go Home
Updated: Jun 6, 2021
I was at a callback for a couple of different roles in the same show. It was a torturously long audition because the theatre was trying to cast two of their season’s shows on the same night. One of them was a show they put on every year. I wasn’t reading for it because I’d already been in it for the past two years. If they wanted me to do the show again they’d just ask and if they didn’t, they wouldn’t. The other show – the show I was there to read for – was their summer musical and I was pretty pumped about it. I felt like I was a good fit for this musical but I had already read for the role I felt I was most right for and it was clear they were going in another direction. While the other women who had read for the that role packed up and left, I sat tight and waited to read for the other role I’d been called in for. I waited an insanely long time to go in for this second role and my frustration began to build. I wasn’t really frustrated with the way the theatre was running this audition; I was more frustrated with myself. While I had felt fully prepared for the first role I’d auditioned for, this one had eluded me during my pre-audition prep. I wasn’t ready to read for this role and the more time that passed, the more time I had to think about how I just couldn’t get inside this character’s head.
Brian Regan is hands-down my favorite comedian. My oldest bro introduced him to the fam back when I was still in high school and I immediately indoctrinated my group of friends with him. To this day, we quote him back and forth to each other. He has this bit about waking up the day the science fair project is due, “Oh no! It’s due today! I’ve had six months to work on it and I did nothing!” So he grabs a styrofoam cup, fills it with dirt and heads to school. When his teacher starts to ask him to describe his science project, he breaks down in humiliation and tells her, “Just put an ‘F’ on there and let me go home!”
That’s exactly what I wanted to say about this portion of the audition.
When I finally was called to walk back into the audition room: “Just put an ‘F’ on there and let me go home!”
Opening my mouth to say the first line: “Just put an ‘F’ on there and let me go home!”
“Listening” to my scene partner: “Just put an ‘F’ on there and let me go home!”
(Listening being in quotes because there was no possible way I could have actually listened and responded with how deep in my head I was by that point.)
A (very) short while later, I walked back out into the hallway with my tail between my legs and wrote out what I was feeling while I waited for the inevitable, “Thanks, that’s all we need to see from you today”:
I went in for the other role. I don’t like the feeling of not being enough. I don’t like knowing that others read better than me. I don’t like feeling that I didn’t nail it. What do you want to say to me, Holy Spirit? Why do I seem to excel in preliminary auditions and then fade out for callbacks with this director?
I didn’t get any immediate answers from God, but the casting peeps did put an ‘F’ on there and let me go home! I packed up and walked out of the rehearsal studio, ready to go home and lick my wounds over the two roles I lost out on that day.
Make that three.
When I walked outside an actor friend of mine was there holding sides and running through a scene with her callback group. Remember how I said the theatre was also holding auditions for another show, which I’d been cast in the past two years? My friend looked up at me with confusion and asked, wasn’t I going to do that show again this year? Feeling slightly sucker punched, I realized that she was holding sides for my character.
Three F’s in one day. And I wasn’t even allowing myself to drink alcohol in those days. So coping was going to be great fun.
I felt the sting and shame of rejection and the fear of failure. As I processed what I was feeling in prayer, the sting was still there but I also slowly became aware of God’s mercy and kindness. The bottom line was I was I would not be cast in the summer musical and I was also going to be replaced in the annual show that year. Those were pills I had to swallow. The kind of pills that never taste good.
But God, in His mercy and kindness, made sure I found out sooner than later that I was going to be replaced. The show was still months away and because of God’s clever “heads-up” in the parking lot that day with my sweet, gentle friend I wasn’t going to be blindsided by the news when it officially came.
There isn’t any surprise ending to this story. There isn’t any, “but then, the next day the theatre called and I got all the roles I wanted after all!” No, it all went down exactly the way God had let me see it would. But that’s where his mercy was in this situation. That’s how His loving kindness was in my corner. He gave me awareness – and a happenstance run-in on my way out the door – so that I could discern then and there that these were not roles to set my hopes on.
Here’s what learned: God is good to us even when it doesn’t feel good to us.
I really like knowing that.