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Non-Equity Survival Guide II: New York EPAS

January 6, 2017

Repost from IMakeTheater.blogspot.com


Amidst a part-time work schedule, some upcoming teaching work, and a show downtown, I managed to finagle getting up to an EPA in NYC last Friday. I was stoked; I was auditioning with Angelo from Measure for Measure for an all-female Taming of the Shrew. I bought my bus ticket, carefully selected my business caz outfit, and reviewed my, "How To Survive EPAs," blog post. I was pumped.


I took the Megabus into Manhattan at 6:30am and arrived to Chelesea Studios just before 9am. I was as ready as I could be.....


Except I wasn't.


I walked into an average-sized rehearsal studio filled with women of all ages in some sort of arrangement that I couldn't quite figure out. Immediately, I was sized up, stared at, and judged. It was very uncomfortable, but absolutely typical. I'm sure these folks do this multiple times a week, and generally know who gets there early, and who to expect, etc., etc. They smelled my newness, and scowled at my whimsical smile and general enthusiasm.


"There's a line," one girl coyly informed me. Apparently where I was standing to get my bearings was right next to the "first" person in line. A line for what you ask? To sign up onto the list. Yeah, the sign-up list wasn't even out yet. I politely thanked her, and moved my stuff to the "end" of said "line". Women wrapped around the outside of the room, and I noticed now that I added myself to a somewhat neat row that made up four rows of women in the center of the room.


Don't worry. I was perfectly fine. Unfortunately, I quickly understood that this is how it goes. Sadly, that cutthroat, cold nature can be found almost anywhere that a room full of women exists. If you survived middle school, EPAs are no different. Besides, I felt good about my material, and myself! (Which is a mini-victory to be celebrated.) I did realize, however, in a room full of fifty people, that my chances of getting seen before lunch were slim to none.

"What time did you get here this morning?" I asked a middle aged woman who was in her own line. She told me she had gotten there just before 8am. I wasn't sure where her place in the line was, but after our brief conversation I guessed that the girls who were among the firsts, sitting calmly and confidently with their headphones and books, had to have arrived before 7am.


In short, I bailed. I had to leave by 4:00pm to be back in the city for my show. There was no way this waiting game would pay off.


I was a mixed bag of feelings - happy that I didn't have to sit in a room full of Negative Nancy's, and disappointed that I didn't see this coming. There were big underlying things that I should have known, 1.) Get there super early because ALL-FEMALE casting and competition, and 2.) be prepared to wait all day because New York.


 Luckily, my travel companion helped ease my regret by letting me in on a really handy EPA update site: www.auditionupdate.com. Check this out! We spent a lovely day adventuring around, meanwhile checking in on this website that allows actors waiting to be seen to post updates on how the audition is going. On our way home, we eventually learned that they weren't seeing non-equity until 3:30pm - so I wouldn't have been seen regardless.


We had a fun, exhausting day, and though I didn't get to do Angelo, I learned a lot about what to expect for next time. I can't say that I will be up there again anytime soon. Instead, I am scanning Theatre Alliance like a mad person, and have my own show in the works for SoLow Fest in June.


I am most happy though, that my spirits were high, and for the first time, I didn't turn away an audition because of fear, but because of practicality. I will write it off as a success in my book.


:) :) ;) ;)

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Francesca Piccioni

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