“I literally haven’t had an audition in a month,” I texted my friend Adrienne. She gets it, but some people assume that when you’re in LA, you audition all the time and you get famous, like, faster than Superman ever did anything ever.
And if you don’t, something must be wrong with you. (What? Nothing’s wrong! My agent simply asked me how my pregnancy was going. And when I corrected her, she said “Oops, well you’re getting married, aren’t you?” She so totally knows me!)
Then out of the blue, an audition notice. Not for a major feature film or even a one-liner on a TV show we all pretend we watch. No.
It was for a mattress commercial.
Immediately, I imagined myself breezing around a fluorescent-lit, Memory Foam paradise, daintily brushing my manhands over one cotton cover after another. I never thought I could sleep this great in all my life! – I say, to the Unicorn tucked in next to me, for a sleepover.
“COOL, ATTRACTIVE, RALPH LAUREN STYLE, ASPIRATIONAL, CLASSIC” read the casting notice. “SEE ATTACHED SIDES.”
What — There are lines! And my name is Lauren! A sign!
I downloaded the sides and read a bunch of testimonial style information about mattresses. I thought of all the dead skin, sweat and dust mites, currently living in my mattress. I wondered if I could squeeze out another 8 good years if I flipped it over. And drowned it in Febreeze.
I prepared my audition (memorized the little script, did my hair conventionally pretty, made a weak attempt at covering my moles that just resulted in blotchy tannish splotches.) I was ready.
I walked into the casting office and saw one other actress. “Wow! This place is usually packed! This is so relaxing!” She smiled, and not with her eyes.
I signed in, and noticed the script changed completely and became two versions. A few other actors strolled in.
“Are we all reading the same thing?” I asked the other actress as I sat down.
“Yeah.” She said.
I looked at one of the scripts and these were the lines: “Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.”
“Well, I think I got this one down…” I joked aloud and laughed a little.
Actor dude: “Well, they’ll be wanting you to do different emphasis and meanings for all the “wows”, and multiple options for them to work with…”
I stared at him, hoping I didn’t really look that stupid. He shook my hand with his, which felt more like an effervescent dead fish, than a hand. “I’m Steve.”
I sat down next to another actor and skimmed the other script. It was a scene with a couple, testifying about how they got scammed into buying a crappy mattress and then had to live with their horrible mistake for 8 years. YOU CAN IMAGINE THE TORTURE.
I joked to the actor guy next to me, “Doesn’t it totally sound like the 8 year mistake they’re talking about, is really their marriage?” Hahahaha…. (Here’s where you join in, guy…)
Actor guy: “….Um. They’re actually talking about the mattress.”
Me: “Well, yeah. Yes. They are…” Pause. I wasn’t giving up. “But wouldn’t it be funny if it were their relationship that was the – the, um, thing?”
Him: “(OH RIGHT. HE DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING. HE JUST LOOKED AWAY AND THEN STARTED MOUTHING THE WORDS TO THE ONE LINE HE HAD TO MEMORIZE).”
I looked around and realized that everyone who had arrived, was mouthing “I went to a department store and made an 8 year mistake” over and over.
I re-read my script, wondering if I had missed someth—- ok, nope. It was just that line.
I thought about practicing my “WOW! … Wow?? … Wow. … WEEEE-OOOOOOW” ‘s out loud for everyone, but I got called in to the casting room.
The casting director asked for our names – except for mine. He goes: “Wait — Blair.”
I sprung to life. “BAIR! Yes! Lauren.” Um, this might seem like peanuts, but for a casting director to know my name in this giant town full of thousands of actresses, is truly a lil milestone. Blair, Bair, Blore — I’m counting it.
Dead Fish Hand chimed in: “MY last name is B-A-R-E”.
Casting Director: “Any relation?” as a joke.
Dead Fish Hand: “Hahahahaha not that I —“
Me: “NO!!!!!! (pause)… Uh, no….not that I know of…” Don’t ruin this for me, Fish!
I did my line, I did my “Wow’s” three different ways, I covered my neck moles with my hair.
I thanked Casting Director Rob, who remembered me, and walked out of the office, with the church giggles.
I’ve never been around people so serious about mattresses, in all my life. It’s a MATTRESS AUDITION.
I immediately left a ridiculous account of this whole thing on my sister’s voicemail.
WOW. Wow. (wow.)