I was up for the role of Hamlet at Seattle Shakespeare Company in 2010. It was a time in my career and life when all signs pointed to yes. Not only was I confident in my abilities to perform the role, but my relationship with the compay was very strong.
During my initial audition, I read the “O that this too, too sullied flesh…” speech, and an edited Act IV, Scene II. The director also had me read the “I have of late, but wherefore I know not…” speech. The audition was good, and I was told I was getting the call back while I was in the room (I loved this – no waiting). At the time, it was the biggest and most important audition of my career. I had recently joined the AEA, and was ready for a role like Hamlet. Arguably, the most challenging role in the Classic canon.
The call back process was awful, being that it was a Skype read (the director could not be there). Auditioning for a director who was in the room only virtually is not something I hope to get used to. The acting, however, of the call back was fantastic. I read with an Opheila (the Nunnery scene) and also read – you guessed it – “To be, nor not to be…”
I got my rejection call a week or so later, but the director was nice enough to write me a letter commending my passion and skill. So, if nothing else, I experienced TWO firsts: a Skyped call back, and a rejection letter.
The point of this tale is to touch on the notion perseverance. This is a word I love, and I think it is an important quality for actors to possess.
I did not get to play Hamlet, but it was an audition I prepared for like no other. That preparation did not get me the part. It did get me a call back and that preparation taught me so much about the role and the play.
After the rejection, I had a choice: Pride or Disillusionment. It was hard, and it took some time, but I am exceedingly proud of my call back. I got that far. That is rare. I DO have ability. I DO have talent. “I am good enough, smart enough, and, darn it, people like me.” I did not get the part, but I will not take it personally. I will not give up. Ever. I will not give up. I suggest that you keep fighting, too.