My youngest little theatre artist went on her first big audition this week. We prepared her as best we could, but much like teaching faith to our children, there is only so much you can do before the child simply has to take over and make it their own.
The day came and I’m not going to lie. I was very nervous. We arrived at the theatre early, as absolutely prepared as we could be. On the enneagram I’m a 9 with a 1 wing – my perfectionist came out to combat my nerves in a big way!
We have been in the theatre community long enough now that we know a lot of people, including, in this case, the directors of the show, the awesome folks running the audition and a number of fellow auditioners. Knowing these people doesn’t guarantee my daughter will get the part any more than the kid who came in knowing no one. But it took the audition from Scary and Nerve-wracking to Delightful and Nerve-wracking (it was still an audition!).
On that nerve-wracking day, my daughter and I took comfort in our community. As I sat among friends, anxiously waiting for my baby to return from her moment in front of the directors it occurred to me how important it is, in this world of faith and theatre, to know and be known.
When it comes to auditions, who you know matters. A BIG part of the job is networking, building relationships, and reputation. If you go into an audition with a director you know and give a really bad audition (we all have off days!) they may know enough about you to cast you anyway. If you develop a solid reputation for being the kind of actor people want to work with, the theatre community takes notice.
Is this an excuse not to do your best at every audition? No way!
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:1-4)
Auditioning in front of a director you know can be even more challenging because you get to show them something new about you, your range, your growth. Developing relationships and a reputation as an actor of integrity means you have something to live up to!
Likewise, when it comes to faith, who you know is everything. Jesus told his disciples, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). In other words, if you don't know Jesus, you're not going with Jesus. There is nothing we can do to earn a place in heaven. "For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift — " (Ephesians 2:8)
Of course you can know all about someone without really knowing who they are. Got Questions.org has a great summary about knowing Jesus vs. knowing about him:
“There is a difference between intellectual assent and saving faith. Knowing Jesus means we have accepted His sacrifice on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21). We ask Him to be the Lord of our lives (John 1:12; Acts 2:21). We identify with Him in His death and consider our old selves to have died with Him (Colossians 3:3; Romans 6:2, 5; Galatians 6:14; 2:20). We accept His forgiveness and cleansing from sin and seek to know Him in intimate fellowship through His Holy Spirit (John 17:3; Philippians 3:10; 1 John 2:27).” (read the full story)
Knowing the right person also means being Known by the right person. The director has to know who you are before they can cast you in the show, which is why we do this thing called auditions. But don't we all secretly long for that day when the director calls us up and says, "Hey! I've got this part that you're perfect for!"?
The good news is, that's exactly what Jesus does. He knows you and has cast you in exactly the right role. “You did not choose me, but I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you." (John 15:16)
"I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and my own know me." (John 10:14)
I've said it before. The worst part about theatre life is the auditions (5 True Things About Auditions and Social Media). Imagine if you had to audition to get into heaven. You stand in a tiny room with ugly fluorescent lights, a few feet away from a folding table where God sits with Michael and Gabriel (the angels). They pass around your resume, whispering and making notes. You start thinking your achievements are not as impressive up here in heaven as they were on earth. God asks, kindly but still authoritatively, “What are you going to do for us?”.
But before you can open your mouth, Jesus walks in. “I know this one. She is already cast.”
The audition is over. You didn’t have to prove anything. You’re in! All because of who you know.