The role was just not in his blood
For actors and those aspiring to act, not every show or audition works out, despite hard work and discipline. Retired RU Professor Chuck Hayes remembers one audition in particular that then-student Rob Burns couldn’t make things work, so he simply walked off the stage.
“He was auditioning, and he finished reading a piece, and I said, ‘OK, Rob, read that same bit again, but lower your voice,’” Hayes said. “He just looked at me and walked off stage.”
Burns also remembers that audition well. “It wasn’t a very dramatic exit,” he said. “I just wasn’t going to waste anyone’s time.”
Burns was reading for the part of Dracula. He didn’t want to. He wanted to play Abraham Van Helsing, but he gave the Dracula role a shot because Hayes had asked him to do so.
“But I just don’t have the voice. I have a nasally, high-pitched, goofy voice,” Burns said. Plus, he was pretty sure the role of Dracula had been cast already.
“There was already a guy who we all knew was going to be Dracula,” Burns said. “He looked like a vampire. He sounded like a vampire. In fact, I’m pretty sure he was sucking blood to prepare for the part.”
Being a trooper, Burns reached deep down—as deep as his voice could travel—and gave Dracula his best shot.
“It was borderline comic, you know, me trying to do Dracula,” he said while doing a terrible Dracula impression. “It was like Gilbert Gottfried trying to do Dracula.”
So where did Burns go after exiting stage left? “I probably went back to my room to read for the next production,” he said.