Have you ever heard of the term triple threat?
No, not that triple layered chocolate mousse cake with the ganache icing and chocolate biscuit base.
No, not the punishment your parents declared they’d unleash if you did that thing you really weren’t supposed to do.
No, not living under a local/state/federal government all of one political persuasion that you don’t support.
I mean the one in theatrical terms. A triple threat is someone who can act, sing and dance. Think Hugh Jackman.
Mmm… Hugh Jackman…
(The #1 pick in this list is also one of my favourite clips. Definitely worth finding to watch the whole thing.)
The musical movies of the 1940s and 1950s were obviously full of triple threats – Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds (yes, okay, so my favourite musical film is ‘Singing in the Rain’), Judy Garland, Doris Day, Fred Astaire. (Did you know Fred Astaire’s first screen test report read “Can’t sing, can’t act, can dance a little”?)
Just imagine being able to do all three of those things.
Imagine having to audition for a musical by doing all three of those things.
I don’t need to imagine it. I did it.
Correction: I tried to do it. I am not a triple threat.
If the reactions of the production crew are anything to go by, I think I can act and I can sing (I have a piece of paper to prove it) but I most definitely cannot dance (and I knew that going into this exercise).
Back in the dim dark ages when I used to do musicals, you didn’t have to be a triple threat. If you were happy to plonk yourself in the chorus, you didn’t even have to audition. As long as you could sing in tune and move about a bit, you got the gig. You only had to audition if you wanted a part. And you only had to dance if you wanted to be one of the dancers.
Sometime in the last thirty years, things got more competitive and now most of our local theatre companies require you to audition with the triple layer horror cake of acting a monologue, singing a song and demonstrating some dance moves even if you just want to be in the ensemble.
I don’t know why I do these things to myself.
Really, I just wanted to go back to theatre so I could hang out with a group of great creative people again after a three year absence. I could have just volunteered to work backstage and skipped the humiliation.
But being a Jack of All Trades has always meant having a crack at almost anything so that’s what I did. I had a crack.
And cracked the egg all over my face.
I didn’t get in. Unsurprising really. Unlike poor acting or a weak voice, bad dancing can’t be hidden even in the chorus.
So I have two choices. Wait for a musical that doesn’t require dancing (perhaps an ensemble in wheelchairs) or move on to trying out for straight plays and think about other ways to push my voice.
Either way, there are boundaries to be pushed and comfort zones to be breached and this Jack of All Trades will always be ready to have a crack at something.
With a cloth handy to clean up the egg.