Watching “Girls” with Girls: Adam’s acting career takes off

Is Adam's audition process realistic? This week, I ask an actress

Topics: Lena Dunham, HBO, Girls, acting, Theater, TV,

Watching "Girls" with Girls: Adam's acting career takes off

Last night’s episode of “Girls” was as much about Adam’s burgeoning acting career as Hannah’s disturbingly unprofessional approach to journalism or Jessa’s precipitous cocaine spiral. And since, title be damned, his boyish impetuousness and brutish enthusiasm continue to fascinate at least those I’ve tapped for this weekly column, why not focus primarily on his acting exploits this go-round? To that end, I’ve enlisted a young actress for the discussion. In a departure from previous editions of Watching “Girls” with Girls, my companion in this instance has never actually seen an episode of the show other than this one.

 

This Week’s “Girl”: Cassie Post, 25

Job – Actor

Adam or Ray – N/A

Favorite “Girls” girl – N/A

Episode Watched – “Incidentals”

 

In this episode, Adam is up for a bit part in a Shaw play on Broadway. What did you think of the way they dramatized the audition experience?

I definitely identify with the feeling of going in and there being a few people that either look like you or are just very beautiful people. That is very intimidating, definitely, and something that one has to get used to. As far as the waiting room goes, that was an odd scene for me. I have a hard time believing it. Just because waiting room etiquette—as far as auditions go—I feel like it’s something you just learn right off the bat when you start acting, whether you’re in New York City or Seattle or Chicago or what have you. It’s kind of just basic.

So, is it true that you’re not allowed to talk on your cell phone?

There’s no rule that says you’re not allowed to talk on your cell phone in the waiting room. It’s like if you’re on the bus and someone is chatting away on their cell phone, it just isn’t polite. Most people are going over their lines or fixing their makeup or whatever.

I think they were just trying to illustrate how scattered an individual Adam is. It often seems like he’s not committed to much. Can you talk to me about what it’s like when you’re in the room waiting for an audition?

It actually becomes a way of life, and you just kind of go in and out of the audition room. You have a lot on your mind and you want to stay focused and do the best you can. But it’s intimidating to be in a room full of people who are probably very talented actors.



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What do you do to prepare?

I do a warm-up in my apartment before I go to the audition. I run over all the material. I stop at a coffee shop, run over the lines some more, and then I usually go in about 15 minutes early to the audition.

In that scene, he actually gets the part. We don’t see him audition.

I don’t buy the fact that he walked in for the first audition and got the role, especially after working in casting a bit. There are too many people whose approval you’d have to get. That would be a very rare circumstance.

He was on a callback, though.

It didn’t seem like it. It’s usually a different setup on a callback.

So, you’ve worked in casting? What is that like, being on the other side of it?

It’s incredibly informative. I would say it helps my own work a lot, and it’s definitely helped me understand how the casting world works.

Patty Lupone warns Hannah that relationships can change drastically when an actor gets a job. You have a boyfriend right?

Yes, we live together and he is an actor [also]. It is very demanding of your time and I would say I do get jealous. I think it’s because we’re both actors, and we know the lifestyle so well that we have an understanding between us. Also, when one of us goes away for a show we try to put our full effort into always making sure you call the person, maybe making sure you order some online flowers for them or what have you, but just making them know that you’re still a part of their life even though you can’t be around 24-7. But that is part of the lifestyle – absolutely – that you’re out of town sometimes.

What was the longest that you’ve been separated by work?

We’ve been really lucky. I did a summer gig that was like two months or something. But that was about it. It wasn’t that terrible.

Hannah throws Adam a party to celebrate getting his first Broadway role. I guess that’s a big deal, right?

Oh yeah. That would be a party-worthy thing, definitely. I’ve been to a few, myself.

Have you ever done Broadway?

No, I have not.

Is that your goal or are you more of a film actress – or both?

I would say both. If I had my dream role it would be something in the Ashland, Oregon Shakespeare Festival or with the RSC or something.

The show seems to be heading in a direction where Adam forms a relationship with a fellow actor (played by Ebon Moss-Bachrach), and it’s a friendship that excludes his girlfriend. She certainly doesn’t like him initially. How are your relationships with other actors unique to your relationships with people who aren’t in that profession?

It’s very different, especially if you’ve done a show with somebody. You know them on a completely different level. Patty Lupone was being silly but she’s also being serious when she says something like, “You guys really do spend 24/7 together and get to know each other in an incredibly intimate mental and physical way.” I do think that does exclude people at times. You gotta love Patty.

Later, there’s that scene where Adam is talking to Hannah’s friend, Elijah, who’s telling him how to meet people and to network in the theater world. Do you enjoy the networking component of the job?

I do not enjoy it just because that’s the kind of person I am. I love acting but I am not a super social actor as a lot of people might perceive actors to be. So networking is actually a little more difficult to me because I’m actually kind of shy sometimes. But, absolutely, the going out after the show and drinking with the cast—totally a ritual. Just because you spend so much time with these people and need to create meaningful relationships that will also reflect on stage.

You said you have to work on it. How do you work on it?

Diligence. I used to have really bad social anxiety that went away when I went on stage. The more I get into this life the more I get comfortable talking to people, especially in terms of representing myself in the industry. I get more and more comfortable talking about myself and, quote-unquote, selling myself.

One of Adam’s primary character traits is that he’s a nonconformist. There was an earlier episode where he talks about going into an audition and not wanting to take notes from the casting director. It’s because he’s stubborn and he considers himself to be a free spirit. I think—I hope—what they’re actually doing in the show is depicting him growing up. Because, at a certain point, you have to commit to your job, and your job has rules. He’s going to have to learn to actually behave like an actor if he wants to be an actor. I think that’s where they’re going with the story, but I’m not entirely sure.

I hope so. It was difficult watching him. I didn’t like him at all. It’s interesting watching a show where you don’t like many of the characters.

You’ve really never seen the show or you’ve seen it, like, once?

Never. Never once. I’ve seen a whole lot of posters for it on the subway, but I’ve never seen it. I’ve heard a lot of positive buzz about it, especially when it first came out.

Your impression, after watching one episode, was that you didn’t like any of the characters?

Umm…

That’s okay to say.

No. I didn’t like any of the characters. But, more than that, I think it was the fact that I just have no idea why these people are friends. I didn’t get the feel that they were in New York and [were in their] 20s. So, I had a hard time buying the premise of the show. On top of that, it was hard because I didn’t see much to like in them.

It is only your first time seeing the show but you are not the first or last person to say that. Let’s finish this up with Adam. Just having seen this one episode and watching this guy, what qualities do you think that he has that are right to pursue this profession and what do you think he has to change about himself?

Anyone has the right to pursue acting, and I think that’s one of the reasons why it’s so beautiful. Literally my garbage guy can go out and decide to be an actor tomorrow, and he might be really, really good. But in terms of career longevity, I think that Adam needs to change a lot of things. He needs to learn waiting room etiquette. No! I’m joking. But it seems to me that Adam is a flaky person and needs to actually decide if he wants to commit himself to acting. He seems a bit egotistical to me. And while there are many egotistical actors, that’s also something you have to leave at the door at one point or another. It also requires hard work and perseverance – which I’m not sure he has – in order to do it long term. That’s not simply a matter of like, “Oh, I’m going to be waiting tables when I don’t have a good job.” It’s more a matter of really looking at your entire life and realizing you’re going to be doing this for a very long time. Sometimes there are going to be a lot of parts, and sometimes there are not going to be so many. That’s just kind of how the roller coaster goes.

One last question: Do you think I can include your headshot with this column?

Neil Drumming

Neil Drumming is a staff writer for Salon. Follow him on Twitter @Neil_Salon.

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