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Sunday, March 07, 2004


Last night I had a nightmare about the stage. It jogged a memory of another one, though not quite so panic-inducing, I had a few weeks ago ... or perhaps a few days ago. The memory is so vague. The first stage dream involved being late for an appearance on stage. The theater was an open-air amphitheater crossed with the Globe. I was running, and then flying, over green hills and wooded areas, madly trying to reach the stage in time for my entrance. At the same time, I was terrified because I knew that even if I arrived in time, I would not be able to change into my costume, and I was wearing the wrong clothes. When I reached the theater, the backstage rooms were a labyrinthine mess of hallways, with seemingly random openings on both sides and above the stage. I entered an opening above the stage, and suddenly the setting changed to something more like a pirate ship. I felt like Peter Pan, which made some sense, given that I was flying.

This morning I woke after a much more frightening dream, at least in mood. I was in a Theater of the Seventh Sister production - something penned recently, though a period piece. I had not read the script, and therefore had no idea what the play was about, much less learnt my lines. But I was pushed onto stage. As I stood there, mute, I felt the energy all around me grow angry, as the other actors onstage bristled at my lack of preparation. They improvised around me. Part of the purpose of the scene was to change my dress, and as I held my arms up and let my costume be changed, I started to cry. Suddenly, the scene was over, and I was backstage again. I tried to pick up a script and learn my lines for the next scene, but to my horror, I found that I had pages and pages of lines to learn, and that none of them made any sense. In a panic, I awoke. I turned to Matt and tried to tell him about it, but was too confused and tired to put anything into proper sentences, and he was too sleepy to offer comfort. As far as nightmares go, it isn't particularly horrible or frightening in retelling, but I can still feel the ball of panic in my stomach when I think about it.

I told two of the actors in Anne Frank about it at rehearsal today, and to my surprise, they had both had very similar dreams when involved in productions. It seems to be an actor's staple, like dreams of war for soldiers, or falling dreams for everyone.

Today was the most beautiful day. I uncharacteristically felt the urge to wind down my window on the highway, and for the first time in years regretted my decision to discard (or at least postpone) my idea of owning and riding a motorcycle. I found myself grinning uncontrollably as I drove on the 83 bridge over the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg.
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