Actors' Nightmare #9

Last week I dreamt that there were several productions going on simultaneously on the multitude of Children’s Theatre Company stages (in reality there are only two), which for some reason resembled Lincoln Center. The costume shop and the dressing rooms were flooded and therefore replaced by a huge registration table in a balcony lobby where hordes of actors, including myself, were trying to get their “costume assignments.” I had something like 12 elaborate costume changes, very Disney-on-ice in nature, and had to rush through racks of clothing to find something that would work for my character; then track down a costumer, get her extremely-divided attention to focus on me, and get permission to wear that costume on stage.


Annoying, right? It gets worse. Occurring at the same time as all of the above, I am desperately leafing through my script, which all of a sudden looks completely foreign. I have a huge role, and I know none of the lines. I knew I had done the show before, way in the past, and should have been able to remember the lines, but I hadn’t bothered to study them before opening night – I had incorrectly assumed that they would just come back to me. The depth of my panic was matched only by the breadth of my idiocy.


It shook me to the core, and I woke up the next morning completely rattled. All in all, I think this is a direct reflection of three things: a) my concern that I don’t yet have a script for The Pouch Play and I feel like I’m going to arrive at the first rehearsal totally unprepared – kind of like the first day of college, when I showed up and everyone already had their books and their first assignment read, and I had no idea how they even obtained that information; b) I read an article in the New York Times the night prior (that I’d been meaning to read for a week) about Stoppard’s latest triptych of plays that involves 40+ actors, six months of rehearsals, and the logistical nightmare of having the cast-members double as understudies for other roles in the same show; and c) fear of my upcoming foray into the structure-less life of a full-time actor.

I'm trying to be brave, but dreams like this don't help.