Curtain Call or Just Curtains?

I’ve had a recurring type of dream ever since college.  I think this type of dream is actually quite common to anyone who has been an actor or actress.  The setting may vary but always I find myself facing an impending performance with the feeling that either I’ve never seen the script before OR I’m not at all prepared to perform.  I usually wake up in a cold sweat.

Last night I had another such dream and boy, was it a doozy.  I dreamed that I was at a big outdoor theatre and getting ready to enjoy the performance when someone came and grabbed me out of the audience, saying, “Come on, your scene is in just a few minutes.”

Gulp!  I realized that I WAS part of the production but also realized that I hadn’t even looked at the script since the initial read-through and blocking.  Good grief.  I dashed around to the backstage area, looking for a way to get into the wings where I knew I’d have to make my entrance.  I peeked out and realized that I was looking at an actress who was currently performing her scene AND I was in danger of knocking the whole set down with my antics.  Oh, my gosh.

I ran around behind the entire set, looking for any cast member who might have a spare script I could quickly look over before my scene.  No luck. The Stage Manager was paging me and I knew it was time to head out.  I didn’t know my lines but I DID know the general gist of where I should end up in the storyline.  OK…..out I went and I ad-libbed mightily.  Luckily the young actor who was also in the scene was puzzled but able to kind of follow along with my shenanigans.  The audience loved it.  I really felt like I had given them a better scene than the playwright’s original words.

But there was no resting for me.  As soon as I got offstage, I realized that I had a duet coming up.  Now I can ad-lib with the best of them but ad-libbing a duet is an entirely different can of worms.  I’m not THAT good.  Again, I was frantically trying to find someone with a copy of the lyrics of “Getting to Know You.”  I could remember the first part but not all of the words.

 I glanced up from my rummaging backstage to look out from the wings.  Oh, no…..the cast was out there dancing.  It was obvious that there was a hole in the formations where I should have been.  What to do?  I knew I could go out there and probably turn the whole routine into a comedic tour-de-farce but it would be at everyone else’s expense.  The audience would probably think I was fantastically funny but the rest of the cast would have all of their hard work turned into something entirely different from the director and writer’s intent.  Either way, I was REALLY going to have to eat some humble pie and do some major apologizing to the director and cast when we finally got through the performance.  Why in the world hadn’t I gone to any of the rehearsals?   Thank goodness that my alarm clock went off just then, saving me from having to make a major theatrical decision.  


I was recounting my dream to the Commander.  


“So how would you interpret this dream?” he asked me.


“I think it has religious significance,” I replied.


I do, too.  You have someone going through life thinking they have plenty of time to prepare but suddenly the day of reckoning is upon them and they realize they aren’t ready in the slightest.  You have that feeling of panic as you try to find the way in (to Heaven?) until you finally make it into the backstage area.  You have someone making selfish choices, putting themselves in the limelight at the expense of others, winning the applause of the world but losing friends in the process.  And you have someone who knows they must face the Director (God?) at the end of this final performance and give an accounting of their actions…….actions that they already wish they could go back in time to do over differently.


Thank goodness that it was only a dream and that I hopefully still have time to get in some solid rehearsal time before that final performance on Judgement Day.  

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