My audition for role in Babymoon

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  • Owain Johnston-Barnes (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Owain Johnston-Barnes (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

I am no stranger to auditions — over the past ten years I have been lucky enough to land parts in a number of theatrical productions — but this was a very different experience.

The first thing to spring to mind was the sheer number of people stepping forward for a part. In my experience in theatre, it often seems hard to get people to turn out for auditions. I have known directors who have struggled to find only four actors, so when I turned up at the Into Bermuda offices I was a bit surprised to see two men already waiting outside the building for their turn. They were just the beginning. Up the stairs more than a dozen other actors were preparing themselves.

By the time I left, organisers had to print out another sign-up sheet because all 60 spaces had been filled.

When I mentioned my surprise at the turnout, I was casually told the audition sheet was separate from the first day of auditions. In total, more than 180 people had come forward for the film’s 30 speaking roles.

Among the crowd I recognised a handful of familiar faces including at least three professionally trained Bermudian actors and several others who have tread the boards for the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Bermuda, the Bermuda Musical Dramatic Society or Troika.

However, the majority of those auditioning were strangers, many of whom said they had not acted in years, if at all, but were all drawn out by the promise of the silver screen.

Organisers had prepared three audition pieces — excerpts from the script — focusing on three characters. The first, Aubrey’s mother, I quickly dismissed as I was fairly certain my beard would make winning the role an uphill battle. The second, officer Williams, seemed closer to the mark but I leant towards the third role, that of the hotel manager.

For the next hour or so I talked shop with a few of the other actors, debating the merits of drinking before auditions and the challenge of finding a flat place to fill out audition forms as we read and reread the audition pieces, trying to make the words our own.

Eventually my name was called out. Standing by the door, I ran the little fragments of advice I had received over and over in my head. Relax. Listen. Don’t act with your hands. And remember that every other person who came before you and will come after you is also racked with nerves, shaking like a leaf and wishing they had chosen some other way to spend the evening.

I was escorted through an office and into the audition space where I was warmly greeted by members of the production team.

After a few pleasantries, we were off. I rattled through the audition piece, focusing almost entirely on not moving my hands, which I’m fairly sure is not what you are supposed to do as an actor.

However, I was lucky enough to get a second chance, with the production team asking me to read the officer Williams part.

While I had barely read that audition piece in the waiting area, whatever block that made me focus on my hands had dissipated and I was able to relax.

And then they thanked me and sent me out. I went back through the waiting area, saying farewell to the folks that I knew and telling the others to break a leg as I began the agonising wait to find out if I had somehow landed a part.

That wait ended on Sunday with an e-mail. As it turns out, I will be making my film debut in Babymoon as officer Williams.

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Published Jan 11, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 11, 2017 at 12:02 am)

My audition for role in Babymoon

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