Pale? Seriously?

You have got to be kidding. You say I look “too pale.” To whom are you comparing me? What kind of role is this, anyway? I am trying out for a part in a new off Broadway play and I hear this criticism when I stand on the audition stage. But what about my other looks and acting talent? What do you expect me to do? All these questions ran through my head as I recited the required lines. How could I impress the director if I was so distracted by his comment? I was starting to panic and anxiety reared its ugly head. I had heard about this play from a friend and thought it was a great opportunity. They don’t get as many people trying out if it is not Broadway and maybe I can stand out. I read the play and dressed the part and wore the right clothing. I am a veteran would-be actress who knows the ropes. You have to give yourself an edge at auditions and that means going all out, whatever it takes.

I didn’t really get an answer from the director and the other people waiting in the wings for their turn had no idea what he meant. I did get a call back so I guess it didn’t matter, or does it? You can’t make erroneous assumptions so I decided to acquire a tan. I mentioned it to a fellow actress and she asked me to run right over as the call back was in the morning. Strip, she shouted as she pulled out a paint spray gun loaded with a light brownish pink color. She was ready and waiting. Shouldn’t I go to a tanning salon, I asked. No, she replied. They are super expensive. You can get a do-it-yourself tan in minutes with the right nozzle on a good paint spray gun. I was surprised but decided to go with the flow and let her cover me in a not-to-fake natural tan. She must have done this before. I was pleasantly surprised by the results.

She told me that she does it all the time if the play she wants to be in has a beach scene or if she has to wear skimpy clothing. You do look pale under the bright lights. I get it. She knew about my audition and the author of the play. He likes to include ethnic characters of which I would be one. She wondered why I didn’t know this. Oops, I said. I just missed it in all the audition excitement. I do recall that some of the people in line were naturally dark or appeared in retrospect to have spray tans. I don’t know where they got them, but they looked fine.

I went to the call back in the morning and wore something that would show off my paint spray gun tan. I was worried about the lights as I had only seen it in the dimmer light of my friend’s home. Perfect, yelled the director as I entered the stage. You got it right this time, he added.