Actor’s Diary: Laura Molloy on Auditions, Nerves and Fire Alarms
Actress and singer Laura Molloy is no stranger to springtime with Glasgow Music Theatre. In May 2014, she joined the company for Merrily We Roll Along, riding that wave of success straight into river-faring summer concert, Hitting the High Cs. She returns to GMT this year for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, bringing fire and spice to the role of Ginger, and tells us, in the first of our Actor’s Diary series, how her audition almost got too hot to handle.
It’s Sunday 15th February, it’s 10am and there are strange noises coming from my car.
Yes, they are, in fact, coming from me. What’s happening? Well, it’s two hours until my audition for The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, so I am of course in the middle of a vocal warm-up. Why, what else did you think it could be? Y’all have dirty minds. I’m driving around like an idiot for a (completely unnecessary) half hour before it, because I’ve got neighbours I don’t want to upset. At this particular point I have sweaty palms, I’m incredibly nervous and I’m struggling to remember why I do this to myself...
Merrily We Roll Along, Brian Cox Theatre, May 2014
I’ve performed with GMT before and had an absolutely cracking time. Cast size is only as big as it needs to be and it’s a brand new set of people every time, so you get to make new, close friends with each show. The people are so lovely and creative and talented, plus there’s a great social scene where new people are welcomed with open arms – usually after the pub at the first rehearsal!
When I first saw their next show was Whorehouse, I had two separate but equally important thoughts: 1) "A show set in a what now?!" and 2) "Um, I can’t do a southern accent.” However, after a bit of research (i.e. scouring the internet and trawling YouTube), I realised that this wasn’t what I expected. Fun, dark, comical and really touching and sad. Throw in some rootin' tootin' country music, and what more could you want? I was suddenly desperate to get in! And now, here I was…
My audition wasn’t till midday, so of course I’d woken up ridiculously early and headed out on my drive at 10, then made the mistake of getting breakfast with my mum. A full fry up. By the time I arrived at the studio, my nausea was half nerves, half ill-advised overeating.
I thought auditioning in front of people I knew would be less nerve-wracking, but that wasn’t even a little true. It was so much worse. You feel like if you do a bad audition they’re going to be really annoyed with you, and just sit there thinking ‘Oh, she can do so much better than that, she’s totally messed this up!’. No pressure. Hearing the auditionee before me, I thought, ‘Oh God, she sounds really good’, and I was sure I might shake off my seat.
Of course, when I was called in, the panel were so lovely and really seemed like they just wanted me to do my best rather than catch me out. Just then, as I was finally starting to relax and breathe a bit, the fire alarm went off and we all had to leave the building. Cue fifteen (convenient) minutes of standing about, auditionees and audition panel together, awkwardly trying to figure out what to do for the rest of the day. Oddly, it actually relaxed me, so by the time I got back in to finish my audition I was so much calmer than before. I guess the prospect of the building burning down gave me some much needed perspective. Sure, I only had about 30 seconds of the audition left, but that fake blaze lit a fire under me.
In rehearsals for Merrily, Ewan has clearly just said something very offensive and bottled water is not enough to make it better...
The Waiting Game
Anyone who tells you it isn’t the most horrible thing in the world is lying. Waiting to hear back after an audition, that is. The last time, for Merrily We Roll Along, I had one of the very first audition slots, which left me waiting the full weekend before I heard anything. This time around I chose to audition on the Sunday so it should have been less of an issue. You try and do other things once, occupy your time, distract yourself, but instead it's all you can think about. Every text or phone call makes you jump, thinking ‘This is it’, when really it’s your mum.
I received a callback for the following evening, which calmed me a little. Callbacks, where you’re asked to do more than they saw in your first audition, are oddly fun: you get to see other people playing the same part you’re reading for. That could make it worse, but I love the chance to see different takes on the same script. Some people almost had me in tears. Then the waiting began again.
When the cast was announced that night and we found out who would be playing each part, I remember thinking ‘Yeah, I totally agree with that’ for every one. From what I saw at the callbacks, I knew who I’d like to see in each role and was pleased to have been so right. It got me really excited about the show. Most of all, I was thrilled to be cast in the role of Ginger: it’s a part I was born to play. Literally.
Enter the Whorehouse
It’s still very early days, but I know this is going to be one of the most fun, challenging shows to put together. Only five rehearsals in and I’m already having a blast. It seems like every week we end up doing more than we planned because we’re all picking things up at the speed of light, which I think is a great sign. Plus, that pace is great for an enthusiastic teacher’s pet like me – every time Erik, our Musical Director, says we’re moving on to a new song ahead of schedule I practically squeal!
Every morning now, I get out of the shower, and the soundtrack is the first thing I play. It’s like a rockabilly sickness. Except it’s not, because I love it.