‘Christ, this is boring.’ For the last two days, Gail had been cursing the bright spark who’d applied for the grant that brought them to a dowdy community centre on the outskirts of Swindon. As a production assistant, she’d been conned into recording the auditions. So far, they’d been uniformly bad.
Then Ben walked in, announced his name to camera, and strutted across to the panel. As he turned the seat in front of them round, his phone went. Gail looked at the ceiling, and the panel met each other’s gazes with irritation. But before the director could turn on his best irony to advise him that his phone would be better turned off, Ben looked at them all with a broad grin and a nod to the display.
“Now is the winter of our discontent …”
Gail choked back a laugh; that corny audition piece. The panel barely stifled a collective yawn.
“… made glorious summer by this sun of York; and all the clouds that lour’d upon our house in the deep bosom of the ocean buried.”
Yet his victorious wreath bound their brows, and he flipped the phone to show them some grim-visage hoodie. He was self-assured enough to get up and stroll around, miming lewd shadow-play in the light from Gail’s camcorder. Gail nearly wet herself as he bent to whisper in old tweed-knickers’ ear about hating idle pleasures; did she imagine it, or did he really waggle his tongue at her?
“We’ll let you know” said the director, after Ben’s thoughts had dived down to his soul.
Ben caught Gail’s eye as he left the room, as if to ask her ‘secretly … alone?'
'Balls of brass,' she thought: 'should go far in the theatre.'