The Actor’s Nightmare
It’s been years since I’ve had the full-blown actor’s nightmare.
I awake on a picnic-strewn blanket in the center of a brightly lit stage behind a traditional proscenium in a 300 seat theater. Not only do I not know any of my lines, I do not even remember rehearsing with these people.
Early twentieth-century dress. Ah Wilderness!? Chekhov? But no, there is no improvising my way through this one. It is Shakespeare. Measure for Measure, Act II.
My blanket-mate has a copy of the text hidden in a book! But I can never find exactly where we are in the script.
As people stomp this way and that with their arguments, I realize maybe I am part of some director’s concept about the general public waiting to judge those who had down judgement from positions of power. So I start acting in that manner, a member of the jury. Until my blanket-mate suddenly stands up to become Isabella.
My turn to “enter” is coming but I still don’t know I am, until the action stops and people glare at me for missing my cue.
And then a loud demanding meow tells me I have missed my real cue and Nisa New is heralding certain death from starvation if I do not get up and put food in her bowl.
I awoke on a sweat-strewn blanket, feeling like I need eight hours sleep.
There are few dreams that stay with me. Some I remember from decades ago, including various renditions of the actor’s nightmare, going back to my teenage years.