Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Rain or Shine or Glamorous Casting.

As an actor the work you do doesn’t always fit the season. I’ve been asked to shiver in South Africa’s January heat and I’ve done bikini castings in the dead of winter. I’ve run around in high heels and large feathery headpieces on sand dunes during extreme winds. I’ve performed dance shows in teeny-tiny costumes at 10 at night in a theatre so cold I could see the vapour of my breath as I danced on stage. It’s part of what we do. And timing is rarely great.

Last Thursday I had all my planning and timing done so as to leave on holiday for my father’s birthday at lunch. As usual just when I thought I had all my Ps and Qs in alphabetical order I got a late afternoon email for a casting in Thursday morning. The dress code: glamorous evening wear. The weather on Thursday morning: cold and pouring with rain.

The rain worked fantastically for my hair, but not so much for anything else. Not to mention that the dress I wanted to wear had already been packed into my suitcase. The first order of business was fishing it out of my suitcase. The second was protecting it from the weather. As I don’t have any rain coats with a hood, I grabbed one of my husband’s bulky jackets he often used for work which would cover my red dress and protect it from getting drops on it as I walked from my car to the venue. I ran into the audition venue heels in hand, flats shoes on and covered in a large black coat with water running off of me. In essence, I was ready to audition.

Post knee-op I only put on my high heeled shoes just before I had to audition. Even with a healthy knee I'm far from happy in heels. I won't mention the models on their high heels who all glide into castings already taller than myself without the help of their shoes. And as fate would have it, I was required to dance on my heels, exactly 5 weeks after my knee operation.

After my audition I walked out on my heels head held high and removed them as soon as I was out of the venue. Bundled up in my rain coat I headed home, this time not caring about the drops that could potentially wet my dress or flatten my hair.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Getting home after an audition is only a shimmy away!

As a dancer I’ve always had an element of grace. Whether it was natural or taught in the hours spent next to the ballet barre its something I realised I’ve relied upon. No matter how fat or ugly or dishevelled I happened to feel, I could sweep into a room with my head held high, gracefully. My knee surgery removed that feeling of late. I’ve been waddling from room to room without my crutches, and using them the moment I left our home. There are stairs and uneven surfaces out there in the world.

On Tuesday something wonderful happened. As I walked out of the front door to go to the physio (the only place I’ve been leaving the house for of late)  I realised that I wasn’t putting weight on the crutch i was using to walk up the incline to the car.

“I’m not using my crutch”

“Then leave it at home”

And as simply as that I was off my crutches.

Just in time for my Thursday theatre audition. Not being allowed to drive was driving me insane, and feeling like a burden to my husband he was taking me everywhere wasn’t helping my general demeanour. On Thursday morning I received a call from my agency:

“A lot of the actors auditioning today have cancelled. The director wants to move your audition up from 15:30 to 12:00”

I had to phone Mauritz to hear if it was possible as we had already planned my audition around his meetings:

“We can make it, but I have a meeting on 13:00”

“The audition slots are all scheduled for 30 minutes so I’ll go in at 12:00, finish at 12:30 and you can be back for your meeting at 13:00”

We arrived a few minutes early for my slot. At 12:05 the director told me he was running late and asked if I could please wait…

“Go. You can pick me up afterwards, I’ll just wait here. Or I’ll take an uber home”

Then I heard my friend’s voice from within the audition venue. Suné also worked at our agency which wasn’t too far from where I lived. She could drop me off at home after my audition before returning to the office.

“Go. I don’t want you to be late for your meeting”

Mauritz was off at 12:20 and I was in to audition. And as the fates would have it, Suné  and I auditioned together. How the audition itself went is a post for another day. The fact that the director recognised me is a bonus. The fact that he said he liked my interpretation and the way I played the character is another bonus. His notes on my voice work were not so much, but all in all it was a satisfactory audition. And Suné and I were off to my house. And in the gate. And by my front door before I realised that my house keys were still in Mauritz’s car.

“Chandré I can’t just leave you here”

“I’ll be fine. I promise. It’s a safe complex and I’ll find a way in”

“Really Chandré. I feel to bad to leave you here”

I also knew that she needed to get back to the office for a busy day.

“We have a new neighbour. For the first time in a year. Her balcony is right next to mine. I can hop over from her balcony to mine and go in through the glass door on the balcony.”

I didn’t mention that it is almost a 2 story drop from the balcony to grounds below despite our front door being on ground floor as the flat is built of up the side of a mountain. The 2 story drop also means that we rarely locked the glass sliding door on the balcony.

“I guess I’ll have to introduce myself to my new neighbour now”

Suné went back to the office.

“Hi I’m Chandré, we haven’t officially met but I live next door. I’ve left my keys in husband’s car and a friend dropped me off. Would you mind if I climbed over your balcony to get into my flat”

The woman looked at me, slightly stumped. Perhaps because the only time she had seen me before was while she was busy moving in and I was on crutches.

“If you're sure. I just can’t look while you are climbing over.”

I climbed over the balcony with my shoes in my handbag, a bum knee and a short black dress hoping that someone in the street below wasn’t looking up. About 30 seconds later I was in my flat thankful that the neighbour whose name I now knew had moved in 5 days earlier. 

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Coding and Birthdays!

When I started studying drama my mom said that everything I’ve done in my life somehow lead up to my career…lifestyle… I’ve chosen. Everything from dance to music to drama to art history and even math has somehow helped me with projects and performances and productions. Whether it was analysing light and composition in a shot, doing the math for technical specifications or splitting a restaurant bill (a big joke between drama students and usually don't care much for math!). When my husband, a computer engineer, and I started dating even the programming I did in High school was helpful. I could at least vaguely understand what he was talking about when he spoke about code and hardware. Now I’ve actually started using my limited knowledge of coding in my…lifestyle.

Saying a lot has changed in 10 years when it comes to computers is more than an understatement. And I never worked on websites while I was learning the basics of computer code. Mauritz swooped in, showed me the language we would be working in, did the difficult bits and got me on my way! I coded the basics of my website and now possess the skills to keep it up to date myself too!

On Saturday Mauritz was feeling ill, and I still require crutches to make it down the stairs of our flat. The quiet afternoon gave us the time to get the website live. We launched my fancy-shmancy new website! Just in time for my birthday today!