I’m up to my ears, people. UP TO MY EARS, I tell you. I’m in another play, and this, I’m learning, is how plays begin for me…with me crawling into a hole and dying. Rehearsals start, and, BAM, I’m drowning. All the lines! All the lines! How will I ever memorize all the lines!
For two weeks now, I’ve crept around the house in the pit of despair, the hundreds of lines like thick chains wrapped around my ankles and wrists. With every step, I rattle and groan. I lose sleep at night and nap during the day. I come home from rehearsal and crash on the couch. I have zero energy. The exhaustion is constant.
The actual memorization gives me straight-up panic attacks: I memorize a line and then imagine standing on stage and forgetting it. WHY DO I DO THIS. I don’t know. I can’t seem to stop. My terror is unbridled. It threatens to consume me.
“Bird by bird,” my husband says. “Give it time.”
He’s right, of course. I know that.
I just can’t feel it.
Then there are the waves of crippling self-doubt. The other actors are trained! They’ve gone to school for this stuff! They teach it! They understand it! Acting is their world! And me? I still get confused between upstage and downstage.
I confide this to a friend and she—bless her heart—snaps, “So what? Sometimes all the training gets in the way.”
I don’t know if that applies to me, but, briefly, I feel better. I’ll take it.
And then, right at the end of the second week of rehearsals, there’s a shift. I begin to get off-book. My terror lessens and my confidence rises. Maybe, just maybe, I can do this, I think. Also, Hey-hey! This might actually be fun!
So to sum up, I’m in a play! It’s awesome! I get to tell jokes and ask lots of probing questions and chainsmoke! I want to feel pumped about it, like this:
But mostly, I feel like this:
Accepting ego strokes, bottles of wine, and votes of confidence.
Love, always and forever,
The Basket Case.
PS. Shows are October 12-15 and 19-22. For tickets, go here.