Sometimes having a secret is all it takes to be awesome...
by Keurim Hur (playwright)
An acting professor once told us a story about a former student who was talented, well-trained, and conventionally attractive – all the makings of a star – but couldn’t get a callback to save his life. He kept going on audition after audition for roles that he was perfect for, eliciting positive reactions from the desk, and never hearing from them again. He had done everything right. So what was he doing wrong?
In either a fit of inevitable insanity or a stroke of desperate brilliance, he poured maple syrup into his Italian leather dress shoes right before walking into another audition. Boom. Cast.
I thought the professor was going to say something about getting yourself out of your own body, learning to move like a different person, changing something up so you weren’t you anymore. It was even simpler than that: all he said was, “It was because he had something on them. He knew something they didn’t, and that gave him power, whether they knew it or not.”
I had no idea what that meant. All I was thinking about was how all I owned were canvas sneakers or sandals, so syrup would probably seep out all over the place if I tried to do the same.
Shockingly enough, I was missing the point.
I’m still trying to work out how exactly this applies for me, because I think it’s meant to apply differently to everyone. But maybe what it boils down to is that elusive, annoyingly vague “special something” that everyone keeps saying they’re looking for but can never define in any helpful terms. It’s nice to know there’s a practical way to fake it, at least for now. Some sort of secret that you have, that gives you confidence because you know it makes you special but no one will be able to tell how. That confidence is what makes you stand out.
As it is, I don’t go on a whole lot of auditions, but I still try to keep this in mind in my everyday life. Having some secret thing to remember and hold on to throughout the day can be a weirdly affective sort of security blanket if life throws a curveball your way. So put on nice underwear with no intention of letting anyone else see it. Write your favorite line from a song somewhere hidden on yourself. Hell, pour some maple syrup into your shoes and see how that feels. And if you’re having a bad day, or feeling anxious about something, and don’t think there’s anything you can do to alleviate the situation, don’t panic. Remember that secret thing you know that nobody else knows. Feel that power. Lord it over whoever happens to be in your line of vision at that moment.
Buy yourself a cupcake because you deserve it. And keep walking.
AND NOW FOR KEURIM'S NEW MUSICAL THEATER PICK OF THE WEEK:
(Charlie O'Leary sings "The Mess" by Ryan Scott Oliver, from Cait Doyle's Hot Mess In Manhattan, with some venue-appropriate lyric changes.)