little me

on STAGE

Sara-Jeanne started treading the boards as a young child, and has been acting professionally since the age of 16. The journey with a character, from the first audition to the last performance is something she cherishes deeply.

It all starts in that first moment when the call comes in that you have an audition for the role of … Oh the excitement of the possibility rushes through your body, the questions “what are they looking for?” “what can I bring to this role that others won’t”?, and the one that makes you giggle “what on earth will I wear?”. Then the research begins. You read the piece, if it’s a musical you listen to the cast recording, or study the score and begin to connect with the role. You start learning your sides and songs and begin to define who this person is to you, and who this person is within you. The key is to not think about getting the role but rather that if it doesn’t happen in this production that perhaps it will in the future and that all this work will only help you grow and hone your craft.

Then it comes: the first day. When you stand in front of the audition panel and you share all of the work you’ve been doing. You pray that it comes out just as well, if not better than it did in your living room when you performed it for your dutiful mother, your chivalrous love or your attentive cat. You deliver , and you do all that you can do in that moment. Here comes the tough part… you have to leave the room and not question everything you did, let alone what everyone else did in that room before you. You must leave and let go. If it is meant, it will be.

When the call comes in that you have in fact, “Got the role of …” that is where the journey into relationship begins. The relationship with you and the role. You start to research everything you can, you re-read the piece with a closer and far more attached feeling than you did before. You work and you work far before you even arrive at work. Even if sometimes the show isn’t til next year!

First day, oh boy first day. The nerves of excitement and self doubt boil up in your system. “I just want to be everything the team saw I could be back at the auditions… and more” ” I want my fellow company members to be joyous to work with so that we may have an amazingly memorable, positive experience” Expectations right? You suddenly have to pee, even though you peed twice already.

You meet the designers and the artistic team and the tangible, day to day journey begins when you open your mouth and udder your first lines as the role of… You listen as it begins to come to life as each new person udders their first lines. You imagine how everybody at that table listening to that first read is as excited and nervous as you are and suddenly you feel both exhilarated and safe.

The next 2 weeks, 3 if you’re lucky (and 4 if a miracle occurred!) is spent putting it all together. Each day brings new ideas and new frustrations. Step by step, you work through intention and blocking and choreography and notes. Layer upon layer of props and costume pieces are piled upon you. You learn to walk the set as if it is either your own home or somewhere you’ve just newly discovered. Hours and hours are spent focusing lights on you in all different levels and shades of colour. Each of these steps informing you of a new piece of the puzzle.

And just like that, they arrive. Your first audience. The first set of eyes, outside of that safe bubble you and your fellow creators have been living in. They arrive in a gaggle of anticipation and it is time for you to share (Cue vulnerability and delight). So, you do and you do and you do. Sometimes for days, sometimes for months. But you share and you grow and you challenge yourself everyday to walk out there and find the fresh. The most challenging and most rewarding part, telling the story and experiencing the words as if it was the first time, but with consistency.

The show closes, you say your thank you’s, you take a moment to be grateful and you begin the journey all over again.