The Sneak Peek Week is over. All in all I think it went well…ish… I have no idea how much money the theater raised. People seemed to have a good time. I’m a nervous wreck, though.
(Insert pause where I don’t say anything else for a moment, until you sigh, roll your eyes and ask, “Why are you a nervous wreck?”)
Oh, well, that’s so nice of you to ask! Well…
You may recall that I was in three of the scenes that were being presented. Two of them went really well. One of them had a lot of swearing, and a teenage kid in it was clearly a little uncomfortable with it, so he’d say things like “No way. I’ll fall off and break my fhoghin head” which was kind of endearing.
Then there was the third scene… the Hitchcock spoof… the director said we didn’t have to be memorized for the performance but it sure would be nice if we were, ahem ahem… so, fine. I memorized. No big; it’s just one scene, right? The lead woman in the scene had some trouble, though.
The first night she forgot one line, and unfortunately it was a scene-shifting line like, “We should call the police!” so it was really difficult to circumvent, ignore or feed in any way that’s less that abysmal (“Well, if you’re about to suggest that we should call the police or something, then I would have to reply that I think that’s a terrible idea!”). Second night, choppy, pretty touch-&-go, but made it through. Then came third night.
I don’t know what happened, but she completely lost it. About 3 lines in to the scene she blanked, said a random line, tried to recover and then skipped to a line almost at the end. “Are you making fun of me?” she said. “No,” I replied. “No, I’m not. Not for several pages.” From there it got so fumbled that I totally lost track of where we were and had to look at the script. Soon she was just throwing out lines and we kept hurtling along. At one point she mashed somewhere from 4-6 lines together just to give me something to get us back on track from. And I’m not trying to malign her – she just got so utterly flustered that she couldn’t recover.
I was very “no biggie” and “don’t sweat it” about the whole thing until later talking to my wife (who was there), when I asked if it was at least clear that I knew the lines. No, she replied. It got so hopelessly lost that she took me down with her. We both looked totally unprepared.
Oh, hell no. It’s not a big deal to look like you messed up on stage until it looks like I MESSED UP ON STAGE.
Sunday, for the afternoon show, the director suggested she and I run through it. He’s very positive and enthusiastic and so we’d get through it and he’d say, “Does that feel better? Great.” And I’d say, “Let’s run it again.” And then again. And then again. And so on.
Going on, I was unbelievably nervous. This is one scene, for a sneak peek thing that’s more of a party than an evening at the theatah. But there I was, focusing, repeating lines, running drills in my head of how to handle various “dropped line” scenarios.
That last show went perfectly, though. That or I blacked out and imagined it did. Either way, it was a positive ending to that supposed quick little “sure, I’ll be in a scene” lark. I’m exhausted, though.