TOO YOUNG FOR THE ROLE, BUT STILL LEARNED A LOT

What Role Were You Too Young To Play, But Got Cast Anyway And Wish You Could Do It Again When You Are The Right Age???

I was 18 years old and a Freshman in college. I went to the audition of the Fall drama knowing with certainty that I would never get cast. Again, I was a Freshman. The Director had never seen me act. There were about 20 other male actors in the Theater Department that had been there longer than me. I looked like a child. And I was totally nervous. So, I did what any smart actor would do. I asked the other actors in the lobby waiting to audition if anyone wanted me to read with them to help them prepare. I was just trying to make friends, knowing all too well, that this audition was really just a courtesy. There were a few Seniors that were the smart, the right choice for the role. They looked like grown men to me.

 

The play was Lillian Hellman’s ‘The Children’s Hour’ and role was Dr. Joseph Cardin in – let me repeat that, the role was a Doctor Joseph Cardin, a physician who is Mary's cousin and also Karen's fiancé. And me, well, I was a child. There was no chance I was going to get cast. Even if I did well at the audition, I was just too young and I truly had no real life experience yet.

 

So, I helped every male actor run their lines in the lobby before they went in. I am not joking. I read with them all in the lobby. And I waited until the everyone had been called in and I was the last male actor remaining in the theater. The Stage Manager came out and called me in. This was a courtesy audition at best. I knew I had no chance of getting the part, so at that point, I was totally relaxed. I had run the lines from the sides with the other actors so many times that I was 100% off-book by that point, which impressed the Director and Stage Manager. They didn't know I was helping the other actors prepare, they assumed I had taken the audition seriously and came prepared. So I stood in front of the Director and did the audition with the Stage Manager without holding any sides in my hands.


And do you know what. I CRUSHED IT. I knew this Dr. Joe guy inside and out because I had seen 20 other actors share their interpretation of the role with me in the lobby, so I had a great idea of who he was and who he was not.


Two days later, I was 1 of a few male actors at the callback. And by the next day, I got the role and I made some fast enemies in the department. How dare they they cast a Freshman over a graduating senior in the Fall drama. I took some heat for a while, but stayed humble.

 

I did fine in the role of Dr. Cardin if I'm being honest with myself. I did as good as an 18 year old could do playing a Physician with a fiancé while grappling with the possibility that she might have romantic feelings for my female cousin (the play is from a time in our history here in America where same sex relationships were not accepted like they are today), but I always knew that despite my work in the audition and callback that landed me the role, I was just too young to play him. I never got the chance to play Dr. Joseph Cardin again and now, I’m a little long in the tooth for the role, so I'll never have the chance again...unless when I'm in the old age home and they put the show on with a cast of senior citizens, then maybe.

As I look back, I learned a few valuable lessons from that experience.

  • Always be humble

  • Always be kind

  • Always offer to help

  • Always prepare

  • Always put in the work

  • Always be open to new experiences even if you think you're totally wrong for the role

I remember playing Dr. Joseph Cardin with fondness, but man oh man, was I too young to do him the justice he deserved.

 

What Role Were You Too Young To Play, But Got Cast Anyway And Wish You Could Do It Again When You Are The Right Age???


I hope this post has inspired you in some small way. I look forward to reading your comments.

Bye for now and Stay Safe My Fellow Travelers.

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