Auditioning for Eternity

You won’t believe what happens when a dead actress visits a dying actress in a fever dream.

By Andrew Andrews

Mary Tierney in Coni Koepfinger and Dan Carter’s Auditioning for Eternity, directed by Carter. Original photos from Jay Michaels Theatricals.

The end is near for once-famous actress Mary O’Conner, following in the footsteps of her one-time best friend and colleague, Roz Diamond.

Recently-departed Roz finds herself in the company of Helen Hayes and Edwin Booth at a mythical theatre called the Bardo that resembles The Players clubhouse in Gramercy Square.

Booth and Hayes tell Roz that she is to visit Mary and help her audition for eternity.

When Roz appears before Mary, the latter asks for help developing a script for an autobiographical play.

With obvious inspiration from Shakespeare, Auditioning for Eternity blends a multitude of quotes from famous plays and movies with the sensation of a fever dream.

Beth Griffith and Kevin G. Shinnick (not shown) join Carla Susan Lewis and Tierney to complete the cast.

The story was developed by two award-winning playwrights and features an all-Equity cast, so it’s only natural to expect this to be a well-conceived, expertly-delivered production.

Lamentably, in reality that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The story is confusing throughout: at times there is actual drama between the actors and at others they are only developing the script for their new play—but it’s impossible to discern which arguments fall into which category.

To make matters worse, at least one of the lead actors mostly read her lines from the script—sometimes pretending to do so, other times trying to hide the (rather obvious) fact. As a result, this felt more like a staged reading than an actual performance, although it’s not billed as such.

Of course, there’s something doubly-meta about two washed-up actors performing a play about two washed-up actors reconciling to develop a script about two washed-up actors reconciling.

But instead of being delightful, in this case the performance was simply horrendous.

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Andrew Andrews attended Auditioning for Eternity at Theater for the New City Community Space in Manhattan on Friday, September 23, 2022 @ 8:00pm to write this review.