It is nearing 5pm on a Wednesday in the city. I'm sitting in a cafe that serves fancy soups and sandwiches, the lyrical language of the many costumers wash over me along with the slightly tinny sound of a pop song playing on the radio.
I lean against the glass that faces the street. 8th avenue is a tangle of snow and yell taxi cabs and shinny SUVs. The people crowding the sidewalks are bundled and huddled against the cold that has reached it's icy fingers across the country, after freezing all you guys at home.
We finally had snow from a heavy gray sky yesterday morning, which also happened to be the morning of my very first New York city audition.
I took it as a good sign.
It's amazing how much your words speak to me, dad, it's almost as if I am there with you, sweltering and reveling in the warm simplicity of the sun. I miss having an uninterrupted relationship with the sky. Here there are so many buildings that any normal relation to the sky is stilted, and instead I begin to orient myself off of buildings, as if there were our mountains at home, Mt. Lamborn and Gunnison, turning into the chrysler building and the empire state. I must admit it takes a little getting used to.
I love my school, classes have been a little wonky around the holidays as a lot of people are busy doing other things, but I really love the principle and the simplicity of what they teach, and, I am making friends. I'm also reading a lot of plays and trying to find more shows and readings to be able to go and see and find what it is I really am inspired by and what I am inspired to become.
I am waiting in this soup and sandwich shop until it is time to go to work. I'll be doing coat check tonight at the Club, it's a little like being in solitary confinement with all these furs and fancy coats, but I bring a play or two to read, when it gets slow.
Funny, how normal I sound: Living in New York City. Work. School. Roommates. Harlem. Auditions. And yet it brings me a lot of joy to call this life, mine. Even though it is so far away from so many of the things I have always based my life off of. Living off the grid, goats and music and bare feet and a sense of complete freedom and connection to the natural world. But it's funny how I can find connection here in such a hard city of so many.
I just got out of a meeting about a short film I'm traveling to PA to shoot for this weekend. I get to be a mime in a love story bit. I feel as if I am paying you tribute, with the white face paint, somehow. :)
The sandwich shop is empty now, I think in prep for it's dinner rush - all the hungry, over worked New Yoker's of columbus circle.
So, as I mentioned yesterday was my very first New York Audition.
Man, was it an adventure.
It's been post pond so many times, I almost didn't think it would happen, but Monday night I picked out my outfit with the help of my wonderful roommate Katy and her boyfriend Aryeh. Katy loaned me her suede heels and her black sweater and a few other things. I felt warm and loved as I climbed into bed that night, excited and delighted and feeling exceptionally blessed.
Tuesday morning I awoke from a good dream leaving me warm and solid in my happy heart. I could see through the not quite clear plastic that covers our bedroom windows the soft feather like snow that had finally made it to our island.
As I departed for work in Chelsea my roommates, the ones who were still at home gave me a hug and wished me to break all the legs. A few hours at work at the Comedy club in Chelsea, rushed by in a flurry of ringing phones and folded napkins and reservation details. 3 O clock approached and with it the nerves that had been silent up until now. I could feel them trembling in my stomach, but pushed past them as I ironed my high waisted 1960's vintage skirt in the break room and fixed my hair hastily in the dimly lit mirror in the bathroom.
I wrapped my coat around me and stepped out into the cold and crush of the city sidewalk. I ran to the local Fed Ex store around the corner to print out my headshot and resume… which of course took twice as long as I had planned.. the copy machine was jammed and my resume was configured in the wrong format, but finally it was done. I ran for the Subway, the 1 train and ate my make shift lunch in the corner of a packed subway car, feeling the nerves and sweat and eyes of my fellow passengers on the back of my neck as I gobbled down my apples and peanut butter.
I got off at times square and from the moment my feet hit the sidewalk I was running, clutching my bag to my chest and weaving in and out of the afternoon foot traffic. The cold air hit my face and landed on my bare legs. I could hear the reverberating sound of my footfalls hitting the concrete as I ran, praying I was going in the right direction.
I was and I found the building with only running past it twice. I found the door, which happened to be under construction, but I found the elevator and checked my watch.
It was 4:08 my audition was scheduled for 4:10. I had planned on being there at least ten minutes early. I wasn't much on schedule.
Finally the elevator came and I changed into my borrowed heels in the elevator as it carried us up to the 10th floor, stuffing my snow boots into the recesses of my bag.
The elevator opened and it was 4:10 and I walked out, ready, out of breath, a little sweaty, nervous but happy to have collided with that one thing that inspired us and infuriates us and grows us: Life.
I signed in and sat down and said hello to the girl on my right. She was pretty and returned my smile. I knew we were going in for the same part, but I felt blessed just to be here, being given the opportunity to work for a moment in front of these people, a few of whom I respect greatly.
I sat there a moment and then it was time and they called my name and I stood on slightly shaky legs, but quickly dismissed the wobble in my tall stride with a smile, as I walked onto the studio.
Inside the studio, which was a smallish light colored room with wide windows facing out to the snow, I was introduced to the Director whom I recognized from my google research, the Theater manager and my reader. Smiles all around. I handed in my headshot and took a seat on the provided chair, slinging my plaid P coat over the back of it.
I've been reading this side for over a month now, so I know the scene pretty well. It's a first date, between a student and a teacher, and it's a racial difference set on the 1960's. Half way through the date, we get up and begin to walk through the streets of a city, talking and I tell him, how much I like him. It's a sweet scene, a first foreshadowing of an iconic marriage.
We begin to read the scene, and I swear I have tunnel vision, just between my reader and me. I react off of him and what he is saying, letting go of the anticipation that comes when you know a scene. We get to the part where we get up to leave the restaurant and I reach for my coat and my bag, and awkwardly put them on and it feels amazingly real, we are leaving, it is a date.
After my last line has been said, it hangs in the air for just a moment, I turn and look at the directer and she smiles and looks right at me, in the eyes, and says: "Thank you Elizabeth, that was really, very nice."
And then I was being walked back to the waiting room and the casting lady was complementing me on my coat trick, the sound of her voice felt echoey inside my head "That was so cute, what you did with your coat. So cute!" I smiled and thanked her and went back to my chair, put my boots back on and told the other girls waiting to go in to break legs and then I left. Riding the elevator down with a girl who had flown in from LA just to audition for this part. She was kind. We chatted about New York weather.
And that, was my audition.
I've been writing this letter in the free moments on subway rides and between classes and work and sleep over the past two days. Sorry if it's a little gambled. Now I am just waiting for class to start.
I've tried to imbue this letter with as much of this grand mother city for you, as possible; so if the paper smells like snow and taxi cab exhaust, subways and dollar pizza as well as a little of me, this is why.
I carry you with me everywhere, dad.
I feel blessed to be able to.
I treasure the texts and letters and phone calls from home that bring a little piece of you to me in this vastly different world that I now call home.
I love you so much.
Love, your daughter, Elizabeth