A fifth letter: Thoughts while sitting in a waiting room

Hello Greenroomers

I had another audition the other day for a TVC. It was one of those dispiriting ones when they want to see what faces you can pull. I hate them. Oh well, it’s just TVC casting laid bare really.

Auditioning is of course the curse of our profession, a necessary curse. But at its best, it can be very enjoyable. No, really.

Do you know the story of  The Long-Jumping Jeweler of Lavender Bay? It was a short story by Hugh Atkinson, which then became a movie (1971), a Little River Band song and a novel, also by Hugh Atkinson (1992). It tells the story of a little man, living his humdrum life, who works as a jeweler in the Sydney CBD. To get to work he takes the ferry from – you guessed it – Lavender Bay. One day, lost in thought, he almost misses his ferry. On an impulse he runs and jumps the gap to land on the deck, to the acclaim of his fellow passengers.

Pleased by their reaction but more by the feeling he got while jumping, he makes this a regular thing, and lets the ferry get a little further away from the wharf before he does his leap every day. And every day the passengers wonder and bet on if this will be the day he does not make it.

Then he starts to notice something. As he jumps, while he is in the air, he glimpses a paradise and a beautiful woman, somewhere above the ferry’s roof. And as he jumps longer and higher, he sees more of the paradise and the woman, who is beckoning him. And soon he is jumping for the woman, not for the ferry. The jump gets longer and longer, he gets higher and higher and one day, inexplicably for his fellow passengers, he disappears: no thud on the deck, no splash in the water. The Long-Jumping Jeweler of Lavender Bay is never seen again.

This story popped to mind the other day while I waited for an audition. The leaping, the glimpse of paradise, the thump of the wooden floor as we land again – auditioning can be a bit like that. You may accuse me of romanticizing the process. But why shouldn’t we?

Love and mercy.

This post is part of a series by guest blogger Nick Backstrom, a Brisbane actor and writer who is now based in Melbourne.

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