An audition can go one of two ways. You can give of your best, the panel are gushing in their appreciation and you are given the part. Alternatively - you don’t, they don’t and you are not. It is all about how those three negatives play out.
So it was, as I prepared for my audition for the part of ‘The Pirate King’ in Battle Light Opera Group’s May 4th - 6th production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘Pirates of Penzance’. No longer would I be a mere spear carrier. No I was going to be a principle, with his face and biography printed on the program for all to admire.
The Pirate King part was described as “baritone, athletic, handsome, with a playing age of 40.” Baritone – fine. Athletic and handsome - hmmm? 40 plus - substantially so! Whilst excesses of the other three attributes were likely to be beneficial, advancing years were definitely not.
It is at moments like these that a confident member of the male gender realises why maturing women spend hours on their make-up, colouring their hair or turning to surgical enhancement. Not to do so is to walk around with a large badge saying “Old fart – not to be taken seriously”.
As I stared into the bathroom mirror I could see a face returning my gaze that was becoming more prune-like every day. Then I considered my facial hair. Ten minutes of razor work left me with a neat little goatee. Giving me something between rough pirate and 19th Century nobility. Perfect, with one caveat – my beard was grey.
The solution was obvious, colour. Searching the bathroom cabinet my eye alighted upon what looked like a felt tip pen. Taking the object down, I unscrewed the top, allowing me to draw out a long black brush – mascara. I had the solution (in both senses of the word). If this stuff works on eye lashes, why not on a beard? I’d just need a bit more. Well most of a tube, as it turned out.
The transformation was immediate. 20 years came tumbling off my face. Looking back at me from the mirror was myself in 1996. Astonishing! I had discovered the secret of eternal youth and it came from a small magic bottle, a deep well that I could draw upon as often as I liked. What devious creatures these women can be. Their illusion of youth represents the greatest physical transformation since Lazarus.
With my newfound youth I felt ready to strut my stuff. Fortified with confidence I would sweep all before me. I even tried unbuttoning my shirt to the navel, to encapsulate the devil may care demeanour of a Pirate King. Then I thought better of it and settled for the allure of a single carelessly undone button. Audition? Bring it on!
(to be continued)