Flashback A mortifying audition

Adelaide auditions for the Lightshow Theatre and ridicules herself in the process

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Center of scholarly knowledge and shipwrighting, Zeltiva is a port city unlike any other in Mizahar. [Lore]

A mortifying audition

Postby Adelaide Sitai on August 3rd, 2014, 10:33 pm

40th Autumn 508AV
Early Morning

It was a horridly drizzly day, one of those that couldn't make up its mind whether there would be rain or not and, thus, leaving the residents of Zeltiva in two minds as to whether they should venture out of their homes without cover. On the one hand, one could take an umbrella and thus be protected when the heavens opened. On the other, one risked looking stupid if one was carrying an umbrella around all day - and it could be bothersome. In a spirit of optimism, Adelaide went without an umbrella, without even a coat - electing instead to don a blood red kirtle over a white poet shirt with billowing sleeves; the kirtle tied tightly enough to do justice to her silhouette while allowing for ease of movement: those casting disapproved strongly of inappropriate attire. Just before leaving Gideon's apartment, she plaited her long hair into a single plait (doing the same for Raja, her new roommate) and put on some simple red shoes with a small heel of one inch. She had opted to dress practically.

The street was full, even on such a day, for Zeltiva was a buzzing University town, more vibrant than even Kenash if home to less sophisticated company - it didn't need to be, after all. It was as gritty as it was pretty and revelled in that fact, the port, the air fried with salt, winding its way to the city, the old quarter and West Street. Even East Street added to the charm, a den of vice but the mark of a roaring, living city where every need, so to speak, was catered for. Things were regulated, but not too much and the whole place was crowned by hills, winding their way around the only city that could match up to Kenash for beauty and culture.

Five chimes later, Raja and Adelaide were walking down the street, not quite arm in arm (for Raja, Eypharian that she was, had six arms) Adelaide holding her lines in one hand so as to be able to go over them while walking. Raja started singing, her accent rolling the rs and gently pausing over the vowels.

"There is a land where the hot wind blows
A sunset cloud like purple powder flows
Over a swamp city crowned by the Sea
There lives the maiden adored by me
Under a night sky, the towheaded lass glides
And me with my lute, forever by her side
And the people look around like beasts in stall
Responding to and praising the maiden's call
As she sings a sweet song of a love now found
In a city where a goddess may tread the ground."

Adelaide had looked up with a start at the first line, her brow slightly furrowed, "Those are my words!"

"You threw them away. I fished the piece of paper with them written on out of the wastepaper basket. Is it about Kenash?"

"Yes and no."
Adelaide was having trouble concentrating on the words in front of her, the lines of her monologue seemed to swim in front of her eyes and she could have sworn that she had read the same line eight or nine times. With a small smile, realising she was more in the mood to speak with Raja than revise, she slipped the paper into her pocket and turned to her friend, "It's my version of Kenash, a version that I now know does not exist. That is why I threw it away."

"Does not exist?"

"Kenash is my home. It's beautiful, but it's not as perfect as I used to believe it to be."
Adelaide paused and decided to change the subject, "Raja - how did you come up with the tune?"

The Eypharian shrugged all six shoulders, "It just popped into my head. Probably something I've already heard and forgotten I heard rather than something I made up."

Adelaide nodded. She knew all about that; how it felt to imagine one had made something up and then realise that it was something she had heard years ago, as a child perhaps. With a sigh, she turned back to the words. She had been told that she would need two speeches: one she had written herself and a duologue that she would do with someone reading in... a classic set piece from a play popular in Zeltiva, but completely unknown in Kenash. It put her at a disadvantage because, as Kristin (a friend she had made while last at the Theatre) told her, it was a play known by everyone in Zeltiva and which all the other actresses would have done at least once.

"I haven't even read it." the young woman said, trying to sound more confident than she felt, "Do you think everyone else will have?"

"Without a doubt."

"Do you know it?"

"Remember that, just like you, I am not from here. I was brought up in Ahnatep."
Raja paused before adding, with her usual enigmatic smile, almost coquettishly, "But I have auditioned enough times to know the gist. It's pure melodrama. There's a woman, a very beautiful woman..."

"Evidently not the role I'm going for."
interrupted Adelaide, her voice cynical.

"Well, there's a very beautiful woman, who is good, kind, clever and virtuous. She's married to an old miser who only cares for his money. However, a young and handsome sailor is in love with her and he comes every night to sing under her window, serenading her. Now, he already has a mistress who is pregnant with his child, but the mistress has many lovers and he does not care for her. She, however is completely in love with him and, although not beautiful like the other woman, she is passionate and determined. So, after giving birth to the child and realising that he wants nothing to do with her or her daughter, she decides to hire two hitmen to kill the virtuous woman."


"And I do not remember the rest. There's a problem with mistaken identity at one point, but I do not recall what happens."


Raja had been right to call it melodramatic. Mistaken identity was a staple of the genre and, though Adelaide was not the sort to look down on melodrama or excessive emotion in Theatre. After all, Theatre was an art form and it did not have to be completely true to life. The rest of the walk to the lightshow Theatre passed in silence, save for a moment when Adelaide had to practically drag Raja away from a peddler selling brightly coloured scarves. When they finally arrived at the Theatre, the eighth bell had just struck and the Lobby was full of a number of men and women, some with props. One woman had come in full costume.

With a small sigh, Adelaide settled herself down in a corner, cross-legged, while Raja went off to greet a friend. Hopefully, everything would go well. Part of her was very excited, loving the thrill of performance and the adrenaline of the stage, but neither was she confident enough in her own skill to be completely at ease. Her heart was thumping so loudly that she felt sure all the other self-assured (at least in appearance) people in the room must be able to hear it, loud as a drum. Still, maybe everything would go well and this would be the start of a career that, even as a little girl, she'd always dreamt of. All she had to do now was to enter a room, speak loudly and clearly, not break character and do what was asked of her. She knew her lines to both the duologue and the monologue well enough so now it was just a question of not messing up. Now, now, now. Every new statement was emblazoned in Adelaide's head like a warning, flashing red. Now she would know whether or not she was ridiculous to hold illusions of being on the stage, of being a star.
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Adelaide Sitai
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A mortifying audition

Postby Adelaide Sitai on August 7th, 2014, 3:44 pm

In spite of arriving in good time, Adelaide had waited close to a bell and a half before being called in. If at first, she had been determined to sit in the corner, ignoring the rest of the world, she soon failed in this endeavour as she was drawn into conversation with a group of eight or nine other young woman, all with varying speeches from the same play to do. All but one were going for Gilda except for a tall woman who was, like her, clutching a piece of paper with the Mistress's lines scribbled onto them. Adelaide spoke to Kristin, the woman she had met last time she was at the Theatre, and was introduced to a number of others - Emma, Yolanda, Suri, Tilly and Nikita, plus a couple whose names she had forgotten. The tall woman was named, as her manner of being seemed to indicate, Grace. After ages of talking about everything and nothing, Kristin was called in.


And it was Adelaide's turn to disappear into the other room as the other women around her wished her luck. The room itself was low-ceilinged but very brightly lit up, seeming to make Adelaide's white shirt look transparent against her skin. To her surprise and horror, she noted six people sitting behind a row of desks, with papers and copies of the script in front of them. John Tawn was in the middle, frowning, and took a moment to ask her if this was the first time she auditioned. When she nodded, he raised his eyebrows but said nothing. Quickly, one of the 'panellists', so to speak, (a young woman - Beatrice, Adelaide remembered) was provided for her to perform the short duologue with, and Adelaide began.

"That a man should love her without reason, perhaps
But that that man should be my lover, I cannot fathom
Reason hath surely been exhausted while illusion possessed him!
For what other than mistaken illusion could give him cause,
to dote on this woman and dub her exquisitely divine? Perfect?
Make her husband a cuckold in the name of her pretty blue eyes?"

Although in the middle of a scene, it all started very well, the speech tripping beautifully off the young woman's tongue as she launched herself into it. Anger and derision were heavy in her voice as she created the illusion of a woman wronged, a mistress spurned. Her voice, angry and hurt swiftly turned mocking, a note of irony and laughter, as she pronounced the last two lines.

"He has not spoken to her?" Adelaide looked up at Beatrice, who's eyes were smiling as she delivered her own line, and felt encouraged. It would all go swimmingly.

"Of course not, yet still he believes himself in love.
While I, who bear his child and, indeed, am free to do so,
should bore him?"

"Milady, if I might be so bold... this supposed love may prove to be merely his vanity speaking."

"True. A pose of courtly love is doubtless his intention,
In persevering, withal, in the face of her inattention
Merely wounded pride at, thus far, her lack of affection."

She had made her first mistake, stumbling on the word 'inattention' and fleetingly (so fleetingly, probably she alone saw it happen) broke character. Still, the judging panel did not seem to have noticed it.

"Milady speaks in jest?"

"Jest may be a suitable remedy for my anger, yet no.
I speak not in jest, but in temper.
I swore he should be mine, and mine he will be."

"And if he leaves you for the Lady?"

Adelaide reacted well to this statement, raising her hand slowly and imperiously to her chest, giving a show of the character's mixture of pride and uncertainty, her inner turmoil.

"She has a husband."

"He is old, and his days may be numbered."

Adelaide took a deep breath, hissing in between her teeth, and turned away from Beatrice, to say, almost to herself, "Then, should Alonso's affection outlast the Lady's husband,
I swear, by Krysus herself, I will do all in my power to prevent his straying."

"Surely, you cannot mean..."

"For the sake of my unborn child, who I would not wish to be born a bastard, if not my own."
And Adelaide placed her hand over her own, flat stomach.


"If Alonso's affection should outlast the Lady's husband,
Then it will also outlive the Lady, who shall prove faithful evermore,
in death as she was in life, to her esteemed husband."

'Esteemed' was a word hissed, as she made use of a stage whisper in order to show the underhand and scheming nature of her character. In a blink, Adelaide took another look at those auditioning and decided that they looked happy enough. There were no tuts or raised eyebrows, which could only be a good sign.

"But who is this Lady?" asked Beatrice, perfect in her role.

"Why, Madame Gilda Hessel, native of Ravok."

"A daughter of the Lark family?"

"The same."

"You would hang for such a crime."

"Unfortunately, Alonso is not given to loving charwomen and fishermen's wives. Come close and listen."
she made a joke of this line, before continuing, "There is a man I know, living not two miles from here,
And take heed of my description of this same man.
For though he now has loose teeth and a belly fat with good beer,
That very man was once Zeltiva's greatest assassin.
And, rich with the fruits of his past life, he sits on his hill.
Surveying the poor and the rich alike; all bend to his will.
Nobody would dare lift a finger against him,
though he is now the shadow of that which he once was."

"You mean to have her killed?"

"Such ugly words are not fit to describe the fine art of murder.
But, forgive my distraction, whether ugly or not, the truth remains.
Gilda shall die."

And, with the dramatic final statement, Adelaide finished. She froze for a moment in position before turning away to look back at those five people sitting on the other side of the tables, two of which were writing notes. She had stumbled once, possibly twice, but that was all. In truth, she could not have hoped it to go better and could not help but feel pretty pleased with herself. As soon as they had finished, Beatrice had grinned at her and nodded, which the young woman could only consider in a positive light. There was silence for a moment, and a low murmur as Beatrice returned to sit next to John Tawn while Adelaide stood still, her hands clasped behind her back, as she forced herself to seem calm and approachable... someone they'd want to work with.

It felt like chimes passed as she waited, knowing that she would be alone in the next bit. That she would have to perform the monologue, and then hear if they wanted her to do anything else.
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Adelaide Sitai
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A mortifying audition

Postby Adelaide Sitai on August 14th, 2014, 10:33 am

Finally, the man sitting towards the centre looked up with a small smile and Adelaide's heart skipped a beat. Already, she was going over the words to her monologue in her head. Again and again, as though she still had time. As though she wasn't about to perform again and, this time, something untested and without the support of someone to read in lines.

"Do you mind pretending to give birth?"

Adelaide blinked twice, completely taken aback. Usually, this sort of request was left until after both speeches had been performed and, besides, the nature of the request was enough to make her believe she could not trust her own ears.


"Do you mind pretending to give birth?"

The man repeated himself, word for word, and Adelaide had to acknowledge, albeit reluctantly, that she had indeed heard him correctly the first time. She could feel a slight blush setting her face alight and was almost as embarrassed by her inhibitions as she was by the request. She ought to have taken such a request seriously and complied, as a good actress would have. Unfortunately, she was far from reaching that level of professionalism and this request made to her efficiently highlighted where she was currently left wanting. Still, the panel had turned expectantly towards her and Adelaide could not help feeling that, as much as the question gave the impression of being a request, it came across as something of an order.
So, her heart racing as she decided how to fulfil the odd requirement while retaining as much dignity as possible, she finally let herself sink to the floor.

The next couple of chimes were possibly the most humiliating of her life, or at the least, that was how she felt while it was happening. Adelaide had never seen anyone give birth, or even read or heard much on the subject. She acted, blinded by her own ignorance and limited by inhibitions, the part as far as she was able to push it. As she let her head fall back and let out the low groans and high-pitched moans which she had sometimes heard wafting through the open window of a house where a lady was invariably giving birth, she didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. She couldn't help herself from thinking the whole situation a little too surreal to warrant too much gravitas, and probably any sort of ability to perform she had been able to hang onto, when she first sank to the floor, left her.

As the groan came out and Adelaide pulled herself forward, growing redder and more erratic by the tick, she wondered how long she would have to flail about on the floor before someone put an end to her misery. Luckily, that came not long after, just as she had finished a short scream.

"Alright. Thank you. You can get up now."

The young woman managed to display a measure of forced elegance, befitting as it was a citizen of Kenash, as she scrambled to her feet and stood up, looking straight ahead of her as though daring anyone looking to remember or speak of what they had just seen. She felt absolutely mortified, even if she did consider the word a strong one, but tried her utmost so that little of it appeared on her face.

"You have a monologue now."

Adelaide nodded and launched into it but, suddenly, seemed to forget words and stumble on others. Her mind went blank and she found herself making up words. The monologue, which she had worked so hard on, swiftly turned into a catastrophe and, as it drew on and she fell more and more desperate to remember things and get back in the zone, she noticed a couple of pairs of eyes glaze over, even as they were watching her. At one point, she substituted the word hand for arm and accidentally swore by stumbling over yet another word. What had happened for her to crash and burn so much? Even as she felt any chance of getting a part slipping from between her fingers, she tried to make up for the poor acting by being unusually loud and gnashing her teeth together during a scene where she was supposed to be angry. Only, the consequence of that was that it made it more difficult to hear anything.

When she finally finished, they did not ask her to wait around and Adelaide fled the audition room, hardly taking the time to wait for Raja as she left the Theatre, waiting outside. When Raja arrived, her eyebrows were raised and she looked concerned.

"How did it go?"

"Not well. Let's talk about something else."

The Eypharian nodded and shook all six shoulders in a gesture of helplessness before they started making their way back towards the University area.

"In truth. I'm just a bit too Kenashian for that type of audition."
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Adelaide Sitai
It is easier to look the other way...
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A mortifying audition

Postby Perplexity on September 3rd, 2014, 10:38 am

Adelaide :
  • Socialization | +3 EXP
    Rhetoric | +3 EXP
    Observation | +2 EXP
    Acting | +3 EXP
  • Script: The Mistress and The Maiden
  • Raja’s Song: Adelaide’s Poem
    Kenash: Possessed of a Deceptive Beauty
    Theatrical Play: The Mistress and The Maiden
    Socialization: Mingling With The Crowd
    Rhetoric: Speaking With Diction
    Acting: Channeling Inner Turmoil
    Acting: Channeling Cynicism and Irony
    Acting: Channeling Melodrama
    Acting: Using Dramatic Body-language to convey a scene
    Acting: Pretending To Give Birth…Badly.

Comments :
Adelaide, this thread made my day. It was wonderfully written, beautifully paced, and an absolute delight to read. Thank you for sharing this.

I wouldn't mind seeing this particular play actually developed somewhere down the line. I think it's a great idea! You did a spectacular job of creating it and executed the underlying tone of the audition marvelously! Bravo!
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