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    Big Kiss

    God, I hope I get it

    Eight actors tell what they did for love of performing in "Big Kiss," a collection of true-life monologues about the world's worst auditions.


    You're trying not to look desperate. So are the other 80 people at this audition, all of whom, unlike you, seem perfect for the part. Eager to please, you present yourself to three ("there are always three") sadists seated behind a desk to submit to whatever humiliation they can dream up for you. Walk like a chicken in a cockfight. Have sex with a man in a koala suit. Or, um, worse.

    Written by: Henry Alford, Victoria LaBalme, Vickie Schmitt, Greta Anszer, Joshua Lewis Ber, Hilary Howard, Matt.
    Cast: Henry Alford, Victoria LaBalme, Vickie Schmitt, Greta Anszer, Joshua Lewis Ber, Hilary Howard, Matt Meyer, Alicia Velez, Micheline Auger.
    Created by: Henry Alford and Jonathan Karp.
    These are among the shocking but true stories that emerged when a writer and an editor planted an ad in Back Stage asking actors for their worst audition experiences. They chose eight of the most appalling, and asked the actors to tell their tales in "Big Kiss," described by host Henry Alford (author of a fun book by the same name) as "an opportunity to unleash our frustration and rage — in a non-therapy setting."

    My favorite of these very funny monologues is the first one, by Victoria Labalme. She reenacts a TV commercial audition in which she reads an inane script and is told, that was great, but can you be more cheerful? Second try: that was great, but can you be more stern — cheerful and stern? Then, be cheerful and stern while glancing up at the products over your head; oh, and add a little giggle; oh, and "use your sexuality." The amazing thing is, ask for a cheerful, stern, upward-glancing, giggling and carnal 20-second discussion of a restaurant meal, and Labalme can deliver it.

    That's one of the pleasures of "Big Kiss" — often, as these actors talk about their experiences, you get a glimpse of how good they are at what they do. At the same time, the show is a revealing glimpse into what (for us non-theater people) is a hidden life behind what we normally see onstage.

    Besides Labalme, Matt "Cockfight" Meyer, and Greta "Animal Porn" Enszer, there's the story from Joshua Berg — sort of a beer-commercial kinda guy — about how he found himself squished into tights and trying to fake his way through a chorus call where he clearly didn't belong. Vickie Schmitt recounts trying to get a part in "Cinderella" with a faded Hollywood star. Hilary Howard tells how she flung herself into Shakespeare trying get into the NYU theater program. Alicia "I don't have a Golden Globe or a Grammy but I have got sass!" Velez recalls her inappropriate behavior at a tryout for the Mickey Mouse Club. And Micheline Auger — I'm not even going to say what she auditioned for. Go see for yourself.

    JULY 15, 2000

    Reader comments on Big Kiss:

  • big kiss   from j. jory, Apr 20, 2001

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