Mother Of A Theater Kid

My hero.

Ever since LilZ took those drama classes last summer, he has wanted to test out his chops at a real audition. Since I’m lazy, I’ve never really found where to go to find out when or where auditions for what plays are. And honestly? It’s not something I felt like really encouraging because I know it’s a path littered with broken dreams.

(Man. That’s just depressing.)

Well – we found out there was an audition this week we missed (of course) but that they were opening it up during call-back night for boys LilZ’s age since there weren’t a lot who came during the regular auditions. I told LilZ about this yesterday morning. He came home from school yesterday afternoon and watched a little bit of the movie adaptation of the same story to familiarize himself with it and practiced with bits of other scripts I found on the internet. And then – pretty much with zero prep and almost zero knowledge of the play – he auditioned last night.

Now – they haven’t official cast the role, but we are 99.99% sure he didn’t get the part. But – the fact that he did that so blindly – blows my damn mind. Do you know how nerve racking an audition is anyway? Much less one for a play you know nothing about? On just a few hours of prep? Nerve racking may be an understatement. I just can’t think of anything strong enough other than I Would Have Rather Pissed My Pants in Public than audition for anything under those circumstances.

He knew going into it that his chances were slim to get the part – but he’s still disappointed. Anyone would be. No one goes to an audition hoping not to get cast. But – does he act like he never wants to try again, like his mother would? (And did. But that’s another story for another day.) No – he wants me to find a mailing list or something for upcoming auditions so he can try again with a little more prep time. MrZ said that every kid and every adult there seemed like they knew each other, so LilZ was also the odd-man out that way. But did that bother him? Nope. It never does. He always puts himself into new situations never scared or worried of the outcome. It blows my damn mind because one thing is for sure: He didn’t get that from me.

I opted not to go with him because the hour-or-so at home before was making me nervous enough. Having to go and watch him would be 10-times worse and I was pretty certain I would have made him nervous. I also can’t handle it as his mother. I knew going into it that they probably weren’t going to give the part to him. I knew we were doing this for the experience of a real audition. I knew he would be the one there with the least experience. I knew all of these things. But still. I don’t think I could bear to watch his face as other kids got called back to try again and he didn’t. I would have had to resist the urge to either (a) cry in the corner or (b) DEMAND they cast my son or else. What would that make me? I don’t think that would make me a “Stage Mom” really – but I’m fairly certain it would make me “The Mom In The Loony Bin.” Or worse, “The Mom Who Can’t Come Within 500ft Because Of The Restraining Order.”

It’s just, as his mother, I don’t want to see him disappointed. There was a part of me last night that hoped he would come home and never want to try again. Actually – I would say that was the majority of what I was feeling. Talking to him last night, getting his recap of the evening, was so tough on me as a mother. Mainly, because he was so brave and mature about it. He was disappointed, of course. And frustrated, of course. But he just wanted to try again. And he wants to see some real plays. (His mother is kinda uncultured and makes him watch re-runs of The O.C. instead.) He wants to take more classes. He wants to go to more auditions. As a mother I’m both incredibly proud of his bravery and drive, and incredibly fearful of my own limited tolerance for his heartbreak. It’s tough. Why can’t he just like video games like other kids his age?

(I’m just kidding.)

I guess it’s all a very valuable learning experience for all of us. MrZ learned that auditions take forever and that maybe next time, he should bring a book. Or a pillow. LilZ learned that you need to have some good prep-time before an audition. And I learned that my 12-year-old son is a braver man than I could ever be.

18 thoughts on “My hero.”

  1. Wow – that does take confidence to do! I’m impressed! Has he been in any other plays or his this is first time trying out since the classes?

  2. I don’t know what to say except that he is an amazing human being, much less an amazing 12 year old boy. LilZ – you rock!

  3. Hey Zoot- my son started with this a few years ago, I was very much like you but in the end his determination won out. He started with the Missoula Children’s Theater. It is a wonderful organization. 2 instructors/actors/directors come to your town and in one week they have a play with about 50 children from kindergarten to high school aged kids performing. It is unbelievable to watch. It gave my son the experience he needed. I am in Georgia and they are coming here in April so they may be coming through your area around the same time. Go to their site and check their tour schedule. Whew got carried away…

  4. Back when I was activly dancing, I was always doing competitions. Dance competitions are different than normal ones ~ in dance, EVERYONE gets something. But then I’d also push myself to compete for the titles, which are only given to the best of the best. I knew I wasn’t great and I knew I wouldn’t win, but I would do it for the experience. I would also do things similar to auditions ~ where you danced as a big group and you got taught a combination and you would do it, and if the judges thought you were the best, then you won a scholarship.

    It’s disappointing when you lose, or you don’t get it ~ it always will be. But as long as he’s having fun while doing it, as long as he enjoys what he does, then that’s all that mattered. I would go in, try my best and if I didn’t get it, then oh well there was always next time.

    The best you can do, is encourage him. Be nervous for him, but be excited for him, too. =) It’s rough, but the one thing that got me through it was because my mom was always there for me, and my dad who couldn’t stand dance always came to watch me compete. The support is the best ~ and if you know that being there would do him harm? Then the support and the helping before he goes is the best. =)

    Good luck to him!!

  5. Your kid blows my damn mind, too. I honestly think he has what it takes, if he was that poised and mature going into his first audition. Seriously, can I have some of whatever he’s got? I could sure use it!

    Once you see how (well) he handles rejection, maybe it’ll be easier on you as a parent watching him audition in the future. Good luck to both of you!

  6. The theatre bug bites young! I started performing professionally as a 12 year old, and now that I’m in my mid (aww crap – do I have to say late?) twenties I’m making a full-time living as a pupppeteer. Bravo for LilZ for having the courage & bravo to you & Mr Zoot for supporting him!

  7. Mad propz to LilZ for doing an audition on such short notice! Even without being in contention for the part, it’s good practice. I did a lot of community theater in high school and college and thought it was a fabulous experience.

  8. oh, I’m really proud of him. I’m a singer myself and sweat through many auditions. For me, it never gets easier but I love it so much. I was forever grateful because my mom did not forbid me to pursue singing but encouraged me. I should ask her, though, if it was hard for her or if she was secretly worried about me. She didn’t let on that she was. It’s a rare gift to find out what you love to do so early in life so it is something that should be encouraged.

  9. I have stage managed so many shows (at least 7 years worth) and we LOVED to see new faces. Even if they didn’t get cast for that role, we would always try to cast them somewhere, even in a show later down the road. The theatre I worked with was big in getting the families involved as well. We did see a lot of the same faces, however it was an experience and joy to be a part of. I have also been on the other side of the audition table, and it is one of the most nerve wracking things ever. Even when I was totally prepared it was HARD. It never seemed to get easier for me. Each person is different. Big ole KUDOS for Lil Z to go out there with little prep. That is AWESOME! If I knew of some good theatres up there for you to try, I would totally recommend them, unfortuntely my knowledge in that lies just in the pacific northwest.

  10. You expressed so well just how I feel when my kids want to try for something they might not get. A part of will want to talk them out of it just because I don’t them to be disappointed or hurt. But instead I bite my tongue and encourage them to keep on and they always amaze me.

  11. Think of it this way – he is learning how to cope at an early age when the stakes are maybe not as high, so when he is an adult and runs into something hard he will think ‘no problem, I can do this!’

    Also, I would take him to see plays and musicals at your local high schools, the tickets are going to be a lot cheaper and the quality is sometimes very good.

  12. Every time you write Lil Z stories i am way impressed, and maybe I can relate because Finn is 11 and I can only HOPE he develops 1/2 Z’s skillz.

    Because he’s a sweetie.

    Isn’t it almost time to start calling him Big Z??

  13. What he got from you is that his self-esteem and who he is does not depend on whether he gets the part or not. That’s awesome!

  14. i’ve been on stage for years now, and i honestly haven’t ever gone into an audition totally prepared, or even knowing much about the play at all. the types of auditions i’ve always done though, haven’t ever been for a specific part–they’re show up and read parts and the director will cast the roles appropriately. i always found it was easier for me to audition that way because i wasn’t *trying* to be one character when i could have been really good for another and i was too stubborn to realize it. it sounds like he was auditioning for a specific part though, which, i suppose, you’d have to be a little more prepared for.

    i know you’re worried about him, but as a kid who’s been doing what he’s just starting to do now, i’d say totally support him no matter what (which I know you’re doing) and try not to let him know that you’re feeling that way… it will only translate into “well if my *mom* doesn’t even think this way, why should i?” if not now, then eventually. and as a singer, i really wish my parents would have helped me out more when i was a kid–they never discouraged me from pursuing my dream, but they never really helped me go out and do what i wanted to do when i was that age. i would have sung ANYWHERE… and to them, staying home and doing my homework and getting good grades was more important (which is fine! but i definitely had time for both) help him find auditions if that’s what he really wants. i won’t make you a stage mom. it will make you a mother who wants to support her son’s dreams.

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