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.
Actor's Nightmare stage

Rodney Dangerfield

So I ran into Rodney Dangerfield last night.

I had taken a wrong turn on the way to get my coat as I was leaving this this kind-of-tacky Brooklyn restaurant, half Katz, half Peter Luger’s, but modern prefab decor, fake plants, bright lighting.

Anyway, It was one of those dreams that was absolutely realistic.

Dangerfield was dining with some half dozen friends on either side of a long table with a white table cloth, and obviously most of the party had already left, as there were many empty chairs strewn about.
None of his companions were known to me, but they are all sort of Ray Liotta types, basic Brooklyn with business suits.
Most were a lot younger than me or old Rodney, who couldn’t have been nicer, and I was invited to sit down.
And even though I had already eaten there was an enormous spread that I was welcome to. He even had a little laptop or tablet that was running his Biography Channel bio that he would keep starting if someone came up to talk to him. A prince of a guy! I had many interesting talks with him in between his many well wishers and joking friends.
I thought it would cost me a fortune, but Rodney and one other guy split the whole enormous check and I was sent home with a bunch of deserts and an unopened beer bottle in my pocket. I decided to take a cab, which immediately got lost. And as we pulled over to figure out where we were, I woke up.
I got nothin’ but respect for that guy, I’ll tell ya.

A Distorted Les Paul

The auditorium was full.

Granted we’re not talking about the Beacon, but still, hundreds.

My distortion, overdrive, delay, chorus were all dialed in and the stack was warm and smoking. Then came that moment when you can tell they have turned it up in the house. The bass was still being fiddled with for the onstage mix, but we were seconds away from being introduced and kicking off the opening number, when I struck a growling chord on my Les Paul that made the front rows snap wake. And that was when the acoustic guitar licks went off on my phone. What a time for a call!

And then it was like in Cosmos or Bill & Ted when I was suddenly yanked back and upward, my guitar and leather jacket dropping away as I soared through a whirring worm hole of spacetime… And before I even opened my eyes I could tell it was a bright, sunny day, and I was awake and back in my bed.

“Nooooooo! Take me baaaaack!” I moaned.

I guess it’s time to change my ringtone.