Earlier this week I had one of my best meetings, aka, auditions. Generally, they have all been pretty solid lately due to lots of hard work. So you know, a great audition for an actor is not that they get the part, we don’t have any control over that and there are a lot of variables and lots of stiff competition. A great audition is when you forget you’re auditioning, you forget your day, forget your standing at a mark like a wax museum statue, forget there’s a camera stuck in your face and you connect to a momentarily real experience and react like you really would were that moment a real event in your life with your scene partner. I was reading for the part of a father who had recently lost a daughter and was consoling his surviving daughter due to her survivor’s guilt. In that moment for all intents and purposes I was that girl’s father and the emotion was raw, real and visceral.
The same as it was as I was driving to get my daughter.
My sons, all older than her have had their medical emergencies. Those experiences also provoked the same sense of concern, but there was something different about this, something much more profound and substantial knowing my daughter was in pain. It was like there was this neural connection draining her anxiety into me so I could feel it like it was mine.
I arrived at Cottonwood, called the number I had been given and Noelle’s high school attendance coordinator brought her out in a wheel chair. She couldn’t walk because while at dance practice she had impaled her foot on a sharp hanger wire that must have been used to hang some prop. It was dangling from the ball of her foot and looked to be about an inch or more in. She was in pain and every whimper and ouch made my gut turn more. I wanted to take the pain for her.
We went to the Holliday Instacare. While waiting for treatment, which required a numbing shot because the wire was hooked, she asked me to sing to her. My jaw dropped, my heart surged and I felt so inadequate. For the past many years she had always asked me not to sing. On the spot, all I could think of was the Killer’s Human that I had been singing in the morning. Not exactly a calming song. Yet, she wanted distraction, so I obliged. Holding her hand, as the doctor gave her a shot, I sang a weak Human and then threw in Ed Shehan’s Lego House.
"Are we human, or are we dancer, my sign is vital my hands are cold, and I'm on my knees looking for the answers, are we human or are we Dancer." "And if you're broken I will mend you, and I'll keep you sheltered from the storm that's raging on now." Still the neural connection raged on, the pit in my stomach, and the helplessness in the face of her pain remained. It didn’t wane until an hour after I took her home.
Then I realized why it had been a great audition--the apparent tapped into connection. That Daddy Daughter connection. So what is it? Instinctual? I can’t think of anything I’ve done different with my sons, wife or others I love in my life. Yet this was so immediate, so tangible. Though now I know she'll revert back to asking me not to sing when I do, I am just thankful she’s now downstairs, safe, sharing the calm after the storm with good friends. I can only hope that further such connections will only be in auditions when I can find that neural link in my imagination and be at my best artistic self, instead of receiving a call that there has been an emergency.
Loren M. Lambert © April 18, 2014