Actor’s Nightmare

Actor’s Nightmare

I had the “actor’s nightmare” last night. You know the one. It’s that dream where you find yourself on stage, or about to go on stage, having no clue what your lines are and no way to extricate yourself from the situation. This type of dream is not exclusive to actors, of course. I’m sure most professions have some degree of performance anxiety attached, and that anxiety gets reflected in many people’s dreams.

What made last night’s dream interesting was that it was actually a sequel to a previous dream. A few weeks ago I dreamt I was in a play – not Monstrous Regiment, but with the same cast – and I was petrified because I had to play my part and someone else’s part simultaneously. I recall much of the dream was a frantic conversation about whether that meant I was just incorporating the other actor’s lines in with mine (bad enough because I didn’t know them anyway) or if I was supposed to switch back and forth between characters, and if so, how would I manage all the costume changes? Of course, because it was a dream, I was somehow having this conversation about how to perform the play while simultaneously actually performing the play on stage. I don’t recall how it turned out. Probably not well.

Last night I dreamt that I was back at that same imaginary theater with the same cast, and I was panicking because for reasons no one could explain, I had to do it all over again. And again, no one was quite certain how to make it work. For that matter, no one wanted to help me figure it out. I have a vague memory of being shrugged at.

I tend not to remember my dreams, so it’s usually kind of neat when one sticks with me after I wake up. But these two I could do without. Let’s hope it doesn’t become a trilogy.

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© 2016 Christopher M. Walsh