Friday, June 05, 2009

"I Really Need This Job. Please God, I Need This Job."

Take a look at this trailer for the documentary "Every Little Step."

I was in high school when I saw "A Chorus Line." Afterwards I had mixed feelings. It was widely acclaimed, even won a Pulitzer prize, but I wasn't prepared for the very honest issues it had brought up: being a gay man, talking about masturbation, and discussing the advantages of silicon enhancement as a way to get selected for a show. It seemed too serious and not enough dancing for me.

"A Chorus Line" is the groundbreaking Broadway show about dancers auditioning for a spot on...the chorus line. We see these people singing and dancing, telling their stories, and betraying their fears. I was used to musicals like "Hello Dolly" and "Gigi" and I decided I didn't really like the show even with all its acclaim.

That was the first and last time I saw it.

My theater going friend suggested we go see "Every Little Step," a documentary on the audition process for the 2006 Broadway revival of "A Chorus Line." I wasn't completely into the idea but I figured it would be fine.

First, I was surprised that I still remembered all the songs even after only one hearing decades ago. Second, I was blown away by the film in general. I laughed. I cried. I rooted for these people. And now that I'm older I can truly appreciate the real themes of this show. The subjects that startled me in high school are nothing now. Instead, I was moved to tears over these incredible professionals putting everything out there for a part in this show. They auditioned 3,000 dancers for 19 spots. Talk about impossible! Through it all the refrains of the song "I Hope I Get It" poured through me like an anthem.

"God I hope I get it. I hope I get it. How many people does he need? Look at all the people! At all the people! I really need this job. Please God, I need this job. I've got to get this job!"

And when Cassie, one of the key characters, performs her big number she says "I need a job. I haven't worked in almost two years. Not really. Why should I teach others what I should be doing myself?" then she belts out, singing to the roof "GOD, I'M A DANCER. A DANCER DANCES." Even thinking of her belting out those lines makes me want to cry.

All of these feelings are mirrored in the real auditions. Everyone needs a job. Some of these professionals have been dancing and waiting their entire lives for a chance to be in "A Chorus Line."

For here in this Broadway show, at last, is the real deal. Here are people exposing themselves, showing their desperation, showing their passion, and a lifetime of hard work. They are begging for a job. Begging for a chance. These are all things that people, especially employers, don't want to hear.

I've said it before and I'll say again: people are expected to stay "up" and "positive" and not be desperate during job interviews but all that fakery is bullshit. If I sang out the title of this blog post in the middle of an interview they would escort me out of the building but it makes me wonder what price am I paying for not being truthful? What price are all of us paying for not being real? Everyone knows it's terrible out there but no one wants to see the humanity of all of us who are unemployed, all of us who are still employed but are terrified that we will be next, and all of us who are attempting to transition into something better during these crazy times. Instead, all we have is a Broadway show, and this documentary, to speak those feelings for us.

A wonderful film. I loved it. Go see it.

No comments: