Samantha Manning

Something to Build On.




I for once would like to be a fella.

Unwholesome both in deed and word

and lounge around all day, one leg cocked

up and car keys tinklin’ on my pinky.


This is going to knock them dead. Knock them for six. Knock them out. I’m going to be the one to stand out from the usual crowd. Well maybe it’s too in your face. Oh sod it at least I’m not doing Juliet or The Importance of Bleedin’ Earnest!


(Sit down)


You see it all started a few months ago when all these application forms started flooding through the letterbox. Filling them in commenced many wanting to know experience in this, experiences in that. Life experiences near death experiences, oh and bust size!


So there I am painstakingly drafting and redrafting, forms after forms, and for what? So that some poxy ‘tutor’, could simply count you as another applicant. "We have had 2291 applicants this year for only 24 places!" Another stat to pass around their over populated, over heated staff room. And for every applicant that gets an audition you have to pay £20 a shot. £20, can you believe that, that’s 2000 applicants at £20 each…..that’s over £40,000. Oh my God, no wonder everyone gets an audition! Lining their own pockets for our three minutes of glory! And all this for only 24 places! Unbelievable! Outrageous, absolutely outrageous!


I drive through meandering traffic, void eyes gazing from right to left. My stomach feels like its turning over and over. A string pulling tighter and tighter, knotting and pulling. I know I can do it, I know I can get through, right, ok. I’m bound to be fine. Nerves, nerves, nerves. Excitement, excitement, excitement, competition…ambition. I feel sick.


We’re led into this large auditorium, people making polite conversation with one another. I find myself judging each poor sod up there, thousands of eyes watching……not a chance……maybe……now she was really good!……Bitch!


As I hear my name being called out, everything and everyone seems to freeze. I feel like I’m watching myself from the side. I pull the knickers from the crack of my bum and stride down to where I’m to perform.


"Ermm, I’m doing Sylve from East by Steven Berkoff."


I place the chairs into position while trying to look mature, clam and collected. My heart I thumping louder than the shuffling of the rest of the hopefuls sat waiting for their turn.




Suddenly I’ve stopped; I’ve done my piece in what seems like a dream. I feel like falling at the man’s knees and saying. "I’m perfect for this course, how can I show you by…by…by…for three minutes in front of you?" Because you see I was watching him from the corner of my eye. I watched him as I said:


Nay, not fair that all those pricks get all the fun

With their big raucous voices and one dozen

Weekly fucks.


And do you know, he never even changed his facial expression, never squirmed or re-adjusted the way he was sitting. My God, this is all a complete waste of time. He’s not even goddam listening to me as I’ve stood there and acted my little heart out. He already knows the elite few who are going to get a place!




Oh let me be a bloke and sit back curseless

nor forever join the queue of curdled birds outside

the loo for dire emergency…do we piss more than

men or something…nor break my heels in escalators.

And flash my arse, ascending stairs, to the vile multitude

who fantasise in their quick sex-lustered movies

which I am cast as queen of slut and yield…


Well here I am now. Things couldn’t be worse. Well, maybe things could I suppose, and according to my mum…"It’s happened for a reason. You weren’t meant to go there, it’s not very nice there anyway. These things are sent to test you."


Test you, my arse. They just want to crush you and make you feel like crap. "We are only taking 24 people for this course. Don’t feel that you’ve been rejected because you’re not a good actor. It’s maybe not the right time for you. I hope you feel it was a good experience and you can build on this."


Build on what? Oh yes, that’s it Build on what you’ve learnt by performing in front of a jumped up tutor/failed actor. "Go away and pay us another £20 next year to simply have the pleasure of auditioning so that we can make pots of cash out of you all over again".


Not on your Nellie. Find some other sucker who it’s ‘not the right time for.’ I’ll be somewhere far more interesting, building on what I’ve learnt.


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