Audition Angst


So, you may have heard. I hope you did, because we were kind of pathetic and frantic about getting the word out. In an unprecedented move of professional dancerly-ism, Mad King Thomas had some auditions. 

Auditions, sounds nerve-wracking, right? Turns out they were fun! And weird.

Here’s the thing; we’ve never really done this before. Plus, this isn’t really a big auditioning town. We were worried. I swear we were more nervous than our auditionees. Nobody really knows how to deal with the strange dynamic of having to prove yourself/choose from amongst your friends. The Minneapolis dance-scene is like a sprawling dysfunctional family. It’s weird to put some of your cousins and sisters and step-brother’s uncle’s adopted grandchild in a room together and pretend like you’re the patriarch. No one will believe you. And besides, you no matter how removed someone is, someday in the future you’re going to see them at a family reunion and they’re going to hear from your Uncle Dick about the time you showed up to Great-Grandma’s 90th birthday party wearing nothing but a hospital gown and a cheap plastic tiara.

Okay, I’m not really sure where that analogy went. But suffice it to say, HOW COULD WE POSSIBLY CHOOSE? We got a crowd of delightful, enthusiastic people in a room together, and we made them do silly things, they cheerfully obliged, we laughed until we hurt, they were all awesome in so many ways; how could we do anything other than love every one of them?

And we did love every one of them, in both auditions that we held, but we’re learning there is more to auditioning than just love. The tricky thing, the thing that makes this an audition and not a project, is learning to pick out the awesomenesses that are the right awesomeness for our current dance.      

It doesn’t help that we weren’t entirely sure (and we’re still not) exactly how we want to use this corps of people we’re trying to gather, how much of a commitment they are going to be required to make, and what the dance is ultimately going to look like. Last-minute construction is kind of a big part of our process. We work for a long period of time with lots of dramaturgy and not many promises, and then KABAM, there’s a dance. Working with other people means making promises before we’re ready. Which I’m sure is a good challenge for us, pushing our boundaries, learning new skills, blah blah blah, etc. etc. But right now I want to know, can’t we just take the audition and put it on stage as the piece?


More crap from me

Here's my two cents on this.

First, I'm glad you had an audition because I got to come to one.

But also, my hope is that MKT does not to get too Professional (whether this means continuing "real" auditions or utilizing the backdoor of asking-friends-to be-in-your-show-at-the-BLB-after-9x22 thing (who would do a thing like that?!)). Professionalism is a lot like death, in my humble opinion. (Or academia. Which while often useful is frequently frustratingly constipated.)

Not that you shouldn't get things done, or do them efficiently or well or get paid. But there is a sense in which "professional" means "like a machine" and -- I know telling you this is like telling water not to dry up, but here it is -- it is not only charming that Mad King Thomas presents crazyass work. It is, I feel, an important part of your awesomeness. It is part of the independance and autonomy of the work that it does not fit and is not created according to Best Practices. It is hard to work against this, truly. Staying un-professional is unnatural in this world.

My little opinion is that losing that freedom and imagination (I believe imagination can be like crapping a brick) may make things easier or even get you whre you want to go faster but I think it hurts the Awesome.

I'm pretty sure that all Best Practices means is that a lot of people do it that way. And while there may be things to steal from these Professional Practitioners, learning to do things the way others do them is like learning how to die a little sooner so you won't miss your chance.

Everyone dies. Some just aren't professional about it.

-Charles "Blogorrhea" Campbell

Here's to the destruction of Best Practices

Charles, I've been going around with your voice in my head (sorry, I know that's creepy), whispering about art and risk and doing new and hard things (aka, I think your voice has incorporated itself into my artistic conscience), and it's great.  And I love the way this comment ties into that in a new way. 

It is maddeningly tempting to become Good at something...the lure of professionalism gleams.  Thank you for fighting that urge and reminding us (I always need reminders) that it's alright to do it our own way. More than alright but in fact critical. 

Also, we always think in terms of increasing awesomeness, but I like the alternative of protecting the awesomeness, making sure we don't hurt it.  Also I now feel excited about dying in an unprofessional way.