New York, February 14th 2015 | Gideon Jeph Wabvuta’s US Journey
Ihave always been someone who relishes a challenge and takes whatever is thrown at me, so when about two years ago this chance to audition for grad school in USA was handed to me I jumped on it. 2015 now I’m in the US, as they call it. Indeed the audition process has been an experience.
My first audition at UCSD was a day after I arrived and clearly I felt tired and my body wasn’t feeling well enough after being on a plane for over 23 hours. 1pm I had to be at Ripley Grier studios and before that the lovely Susan Watson (Almasi’s Social Media Coordinator and Associate Artist) took time to coach me. What struck me most is how in a space of about 45 minutes I noticed the shift in my performance, how she managed to mold my pieces to something I myself was becoming confident in. She gave me tools I will carry forever as no one had never taught me how to audition. Fast forward an hour I’m at Ripley Grier studios and I’m warming up.
I get into the room and everyone asks me how I’m finding New York and my now common answer, ‘It is freezing’. At that moment my heart is beating and the sheer size of what I’m doing strikes. I’ve flown thousands of miles for this moment and dozens of people have invested in this. I’m asked a number of questions which I respond to and funny enough at that moment that’s when it strikes that I’M IN AMERICA!!-as we call it. So I do my two audition pieces Sizwe Bansi is Dead and Richard 3, I leave the room. The realization that had struck me when I was in the room sinks in deeper and at that moment the gravity of what Almasi has done for me just slowly settles in and I take a deep breath and wait. A minute later I’m told I have a callback.
One of the biggest moments of my life will always be this trip as it has made me a better human being aside from the arts. I have met a Tony award best actress nominee, one of the most amazing human beings, Kimberly Scott. She played Annie in Danai’s Familiar with so much commitment, she had to speak Shona and she nailed it. Her level of humility will always stick with me, how someone remains so humble no matter what they have achieved. I sat across a spot were the late August Wilson wrote the Piano Lesson, one of my favorite plays. I watched Sizwe Bans is dead, a South African play in America, strange I think. I shook hands with Lupita Nyongo, I saw Clive Owen in the flesh. Leaving Zimbabwe I thought it was a get in get out situation, I audition, I watch a play, I walk around New York and I leave, but this journey has made me a better artist.