Stage Fright

I know that you will think I am fibbing, but you can ask ( ) , that is not one of my character traits. He will be glad to fill you in on all of my other ones, but even he would not accuse me of being a prevaricator. So I will tell you that in the main, the following story is actually an accurate account of a dream I had one time. Only a few little touches were added to dovetail it into my imaginary world filled with my imaginary friends.

Stage Fright

I was in a dream.

  There I was, rushing into the theater for the beginning of the play. All the actors were there practicing lines and getting into costumes. It was the night of the performance, and I was totally unprepared.

   I realized that I did not know my lines and I did not have my costume. Panic was rising in my throat. How could I let these people down? I didn’t have time to go home for my costume, but I figured someone would have a script that I could borrow.

   I was to perform a skit with Bernie Wainwright. Each of us had about six lines. I also had a small part in the main production. I felt so badly that I hadn’t learned my lines and there I was showing up without my costume too. I felt I had to go confess to Glenda. Surely the director deserved to know the worst.

   I searched in all the rooms, which were filled with people reciting lines in various states of undress, or assembling the hand painted sets, until I finally found her sitting in a large chair surrounded by helpers with tape measures around their necks and pencils in their hair. She was obviously in some kind of distress and was panting heavily. Someone was fanning her with the master script. I tried to tell her what was going on, but everyone waved me out of room saying, “Don’t bother her now, can’t you see she is in labor?”  I left in a hurry, wishing I had the courage to grab that script, but it seemed inhumane to do so.

  As I walked down the hall I was mumbling to myself that it MIGHT have been a good idea if she had perhaps arranged for at least ONE rehearsal of some kind before sending us all on stage… but we had obviously not had one AT ALL. And now on the crucial night, she was in LABOR?

   Then there was a long, drawn out segment of the dream where I asked a parade of people if I could borrow their script for a few minutes. No one seemed to have one they were willing to let go of, except Ross Whipple, (the former class president) who had cut his up into index card size pieces and stapled them into a thick stack. He let me flip through it, but it was no use, I couldn’t make head or tails of it. It was also written all over in his notes about where to stand and what gestures to make at what moments, etc. Arrrrggghhh !

    I finally found Bernie who had a copy of our lines, which looked strangely like a menu from an Italian restaurant. But that couldn’t be right, because one of my lines had something to do with bagels.

   My panic rose to unbearable proportions as I saw the audience begin to arrive. They were hanging their coats in the coatroom and schmoozing in the aisles. All the participants were gathering backstage and I was COMPLETELY unprepared to go on. What was I going to do???

   Then suddenly, (as so often happens in dreams) there I was up on the stage, with the lights blaring, thankfully blocking the staring faces of the audience from my view. Someone had slapped an ill-fitting Victorian style dress on me in a particularly unflattering shade of Puce, with an enormous bustle attached. I felt like a piece of overstuffed furniture.

   Bernie spoke a few lines and stared at me with sweat pouring down his face, looking like a deer in the headlights of the train wreck that he knew was in progress. I fixed my eyes on his yellow bow tie that I noticed clashed terribly with his lime green striped suit, hoping for inspiration.

   Hope died as my eyes drifted to the makeup-stained collar of Bernie’s shirt.

  My lips were numb, my mind was racing, my body was stiff and I thought I was going to faint.

   Then it got worse.

  I opened my mouth and began to speak. I was horrified to hear these words:

   “Flub serendipity!  Grazik scrotum odata nebulai.”

   Bernie looked at me in disbelief, and began waving his left arm, which looked as if it was no longer attached to his body, in an erratic way hoping to make the audience look elsewhere. As if some wonderful miracle was about to arrive from stage right to make what I had just said into perfect sense.

   No such miracle arrived.

   He was too afraid to say his next line, for obvious reasons, so I opened my mouth but my vocal cords dried up. I finally choked out in hissing tones to Bernie…. “Step on my foot dear boy, I think I’m in a feedback loop!”

   He swooped nearer to me and in one dramatic motion, mashed down on my instep with a will.

   “What? I shouted bombastically. They ordered whole wheat bagels for the celebration? Have they taken leave of their senses? We must go at once and stop them!”

    Bernie struck an affected pose of horror, and we exited forthwith, stage left.



Then I woke up.


Well, I don’t mind telling you my dears, that I was very thankful to be awake again. And to those of you participating in the Bogwillow Follies this year, let this be a warning to you.

   Glenda Speedwell, director of the Follies, has announced that rehearsals will be held at 7 PM for the next two Wednesdays and the dress rehearsal will be the Friday following.

So, learn your lines and be sure to attend, you do NOT want to be caught unprepared.

Trust me.

Clarissa Pentergast

Bogwillow Theater Editor