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The Unreliable Narrator

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Am Dram
Give up
Last night I used up my obscenity quota for the year. I auditioned for a role - any role - in Glengarry Glen Ross, David Mamet's deliciously sweary play about desperate, middle-aged salesmen. At last, a part I am built for.

It was a humbling experience. I was hopelessly ill-prepared, my Merkin accent remains shit, and it didn't help that two other guys there nailed the accent and characters brilliantly. But one of them is Asian, and this play is indisputably about the white male experience. He read extremely well, but to cast him would require some imaginative direction or unthinkable script butchery - not because casting Asian actors is a problem, but because the principal characters in the play are explicitly or tacitly racist, reserving especial bile for 'Indians' called 'Patel', and it's important to both plot and character. It is a naturalistic play, so to have an obviously Asian actor among the bigots is going to look a little weird, like a man playing a lesbian. You can only suspend disbelief so much. But no director ever has the perfect cast available to them and I'm just glad it's not me that has to make the casting decisions.

I suspect I may get cast, not because I think I deserve a role, but as a reward for showing up; there were only enough actors at the audition to make up the cast. I suspect the director will make some phone calls today; the group has several other actors of the right age who didn't show up.

If I do get cast, I doubt I made a good enough impression to land the juicier roles of Roma or Moss (the ultra-competitive salemen). Even if the director elects not to cast the Asian guy in either of those roles, I'm sure he would have someone else in mind because I doubt I made the cut. I don't think I'll be offered the browbeaten client Lingk or the older Shelley Levene around whom the play revolves, because I didn't read for either of them. I'm not imposing enough to play the police officer, Baylen, so that leaves either Williamson (the younger, taciturn office manager) or Aaronow (the failing, self-critical, easily-led salesman). I'd be more than happy playing either of those.

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Sounds most interesting. What's the group?

It's a local amateur drama club.

I was in a production of Oleanna at university in which we ditched the American accents completely - don't think it'd work for Glengarry, though...

You're right, hard to do a story about the failure of the American dream (among other things) without Americans. My accent is rubbish, though. Do you know any good dialect coaches?

I don't - I struggle witn American, and have never had to do it, thankfully!

Good luck with getting selected, old chap.

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