Military Escort: Getting to the Audition on Time.

Yesterday, our daughter auditioned for the role of Marta in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sydney production of the Sound of Music.Marta is the second youngest of the Von Trapp children and Miss almost looks like a carbon copy of the original movie version played by Debbie Turner. So, it was very easy to picture her up there on stage under the big lights…especially when I’d seen her play Gretal/Marta in a performance with her musical theatre class.

Miss on Stage Performing Marta with her Musical Theatre Class.

Miss on Stage Performing Marta with her Musical Theatre Class.

Here’s my previous post: The House is Alive With the Sound of Music:

For an entire week, we were living the dream, without any of the drawbacks and it was out of this world! During this time, I imagined Miss up there on the big stage and sitting in my seat at the Capital Theatre with such incredible pride. I could almost jump on top of my seat and shout out: “That’s my girl!” Embarrassing I know but who wouldn’t be just exploring with pride seeing their child up there?

As much as we had our hopes and dreams, we were also very philosophical about her chances. The odds might have been better than winning Lotto but only marginally. However, as long as you’re in the running, there’s still that chance and that chance no matter how small, can fuel a dream, a desire, a hope!

There were, however, two sure-fire ways to get eliminated before the auditions even began:

  1. Being the wrong height.
  2. Being late.

Being late…for us this was the greatest threat of all. It didn’t matter if she could sing like a lark, if she was even one minute late, that was IT! Gone!

So, so with the audition being at 9.45 on a Monday morning and needing to arrive half an hour beforehand, we were needing to wake up with the crows and I wasn’t about to trust Sydney traffic or Sydney trains with my precious cargo.

Rather, I recruited the assistance of “The Godfather” who lives about 15-30 minutes drive from the Entertainment Quarter where the auditions were being held, which is right next to the Sydney Cricket Ground.

It just so happens that the Godfather is a Major in the Army Reserve and we made a few jokes about Miss being too intimidated to take him on in uniform. However, the uniform wasn’t a joke. When he appeared for breakfast, indeed, he was in uniform…just the thing to get us moving. Even I wasn’t game to run late…not even a few minutes, although I’m sure I’ve left him waiting many times over the years.

This was just what we needed.

Indeed, I could use a military escort to get my kids to school every single morning…and a cornet blasting them in the eardrum: “Wake up!”

So, as you can see, we had a military escort to the audition and not only were we there on time, we were early enough to celebrate with a cappuccino and steaming banana bread.

At the cafe. I needed that coffee!

At the cafe. I needed that coffee!

At this point, we spotted our first other “Marta” sitting with her Mum at the cafe and we also spotted a few “Men in Black”. Now, I was really starting to know we’d arrived in something like  movie land. We might have been on the very outer perimeter, barely dipping our big toes in the water but we’d now been drawn into its orbit and I wanted to savour each and every second of it.

Checking the time yet again, I decide it’s time to set of in search of the Brent Street Studios, where the auditions are being held. Of course, I’d allowed plenty of time to get lost… just in case. However, I decide to ask the men in black for directions. Sure, the fact that they were dressed all in black didn’t guarantee that they’re in the industry but the bet paid off.

We were on our way. At this point, we are surrounded by Gretels and Martas and their Mums…even a baby in a pram with a toddler hanging on as a fluffy, white Samoyed runs around through the crowd. There are even a few contenders dressed up in Austrian national dress.

Miss outside the Brent Street Studios where the auditions were held.

Miss outside the Brent Street Studios where the auditions were held.

I pause to take Miss’s photo out the front. She’s not very enthusiastic and I guess it looks a bit uncool posing for Mum…even if she has a great camera. Maybe also because you’re sick to death of posing for Mum and that @#$% camera and just for once, go somewhere and just be left alone.

She begrudgingly submits. She knows how persistent I can be!

We make our way to the desk to pick up a form. Name, height, Agent. Humph. Our daughter doesn’t have an agent and in retrospect, if this whole process wasn’t so serious, perhaps I should have written down:

Agent: Maxwell Smart.

Her Agent: Maxwell Smart.

Her Agent: Maxwell Smart.

Next, she had to get measured and you could see all the mums anxiously holding their breath, as their child stood barefoot against the tape. With kids, all it could take is one quick growth spurt and they’d be out. Miss has always tended to grow in a more gradual way and is “petite”. However, we have beefed up her nutrition significantly lately and I was concerned that all our efforts to help her grow, might have been counter-productive in this instance. I’m pretty sure she needed to be 130-135cm tall and as I held my breath and crossed my fingers, she came in with just 1.5 centimetres to spare.


On time and the right height…she was still in with a chance.

Being 45 minutes early at this point, we heard names called out and watched groups of 15 girls disappear behind closed doors, reappear and disappear. I chatted to a few of the other mums and they were all really normal people and their families were either just having a punt or doing it for the experience.There were none of those “stage Mums” that you hear about with the beauty pageants what with the perfect makeup, hair and fingernails. I’m actually wondering at the moment that if you child is really interested in things like dance, drama, singing, musical performance, a true stage mum is anything but glamorous as all your money and effort is being poured into your child and you’ll be lucky top get a haircut…let alone a leg wax. Speaking of wax, I didn’t hear any mums wax lyrically about their precious Shirley Temple…just as well!

All too soon, her name is called out and Miss disappears. The audition was something of an anti-climax and all they had to do was sing one line of Do Re Mi as a group. Of course, I wasn’t allowed in so this all went on behind closed doors but I did catch a glimpse inside the inner sanctum on the news tonight.

Miss returns and we find out she wasn’t called back. Indeed, none of the girls in her group were called back.

Oh well! It was always going to be a long shot…especially as she’s still working on her vocal nodules.

She enjoyed the audition though. Said it was fun and wants to keep auditioning for future shows. I think that’s a good thing, even though this has been such a whirlwind. After all, this was something that seemingly came out of left field and wasn’t something we were consciously working towards, even though she is doing musical theatre. However, sense that a new chapter is unfolding and this was quite a meaningful step forward.

We were also conscious that there were going to be some big sacrifices if she’d got the role. Of course, we would have worked these things out and there’s no way I would’ve killed her dream. At the same time, her brother starts high school next year and that’s a big step where he’ll need us. Miss is also singing with her school choir in two upcoming concerts and if she’d got the role, she’d have to pull out. That would have been a real disappointment and these are her long term friends… our community. Moreover, rehearsing for these concerts will really give her a good idea of the hard work and discipline involved without the pressure…as well as the fun…and we are thrilled she has these opportunities.

At the same time, I must admit I was a little disappointed that she wasn’t called back. After all, I am her Mum!

So, with a day off school, the day was but young. We caught the bus into the city and we took the lift right up to the top of Centrepoint Tower to look right over the top of Sydney. My daughter was going up in the world…even if that meant overcoming her fear of heights.

Miss and I at the top of Sydney's Centrepoint Tower.

Miss and I at the top of Sydney’s Centrepoint Tower.

We are ever so proud of our incredibly gutsy girl!

Stay tuned for our big day out!

xx Rowena

23 thoughts on “Military Escort: Getting to the Audition on Time.

  1. TanGental

    Love the escort! Scary as all hell but sure to get you through any bottlenecks. Shame about the audition but now you’ve tasted the forbidden fruit there’s no going back….

  2. merrildsmith

    All in all, it sounds like a great experience.
    I laughed at your military escort. If she had been cast, you’d have to have him for all the performances–and maybe the rehearsals, too. 😉

  3. roweeee Post author

    I know it really was funny. We’ve been friends for over 25 years and used to date but that was like a life time ago. I am close frioends with his wife and another ex-girlfriend. I thought his ability to stay friends afterwards was an admirable character trait and he is Godfather to both our kids.

  4. roweeee Post author

    Thanks very much, Derrick. I’ll have to show her all the comments of people like yourself taking an interest. She’ll love it. Best wishes,

  5. roweeee Post author

    I think you’re right. It’s one of those things, you dip your toe in and the next minute, you’re gone. I used to do drama when I was young and loved it and there’s an obvious synergy between drama and writing, creating characters and all…telling stories. I like how this is opening up another world for me to interact with as well. Not that I’ll necessarily write something lengthy about it but I love watching and observing people and being with people and it’s good to meet people from all walks of life.
    The escort appealed to my sense of humour and my chronic lack of time management…especially since the chemo. It still hasn’t come back. That said, I was perfectly organised for Monday.
    Poor Geoff drew the short straw. The trains were out and so he drove me to our friend’s place, we were dropping the old car at the station but the gear box blew up on the way and Geoff had to pull the car off the road, while I drove on oblivious until he called. Then coming home, there was an accident and he had to wait an hour for them to clear the road. Things are never simple!

  6. roweeee Post author

    Thanks so much, Debbe. I’ve actually become more excited today. They showed the kids auditioning on the news so I’ve now been able to see inside the audition room and see what they did, which meant the world. Of course, we parents weren’t allowed into the inner sanctum! I was also proud of her for going up Centrepoint Tower as she’s always been scared of heights but we’ve always encouraged her and tried not let her bail out. Some of these fears stay with you for life but at least if you can do what you want to do despite the fear, that’s almost as good as beating it. Hope things are going okay for you! xx Rowena

  7. roweeee Post author

    Thanks very much, Tildy. I must say that I really enjoyed dreaming of her on the big stage that week before the auditions plus we didn’t have to go through all the effort. It’s certainly an experience we’ll never forget xx Rowena

  8. Debbe

    I was very timid at her age. To this day I have not stood on a stage. Speech class in college made me sick to my stomach when I had to get up in front in the class. She is of great courage for such a wee lass. I applaud your mothering. Blessings of love and light.

  9. roweeee Post author

    Thanks very much, Debbe. It’s funny because we each have different fears. I have no dramas getting up and speaking to an audience but get very anxious driving.
    The other thing too is that just because you see other people do something that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not nervous. It’s just that their desire to do that thing is greater than the fear.

  10. roweeee Post author

    It’s an important one to keep in mind because we can be very down on ourselves about our own fears and yet we are not alone. Other people are also just as adept as ourselves at covering them up! xx Ro

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