Dream of: 09 May 2004 "Agonistes"

I was supposed to be an actor in a play which was to open this evening. Unfortunately, I hadn't memorized my extensive lines. I had only read the play once, and I wasn't even sure what it was about, although I though it had been written by a Scandinavian. I thought the name of the play was Agonistes.

I walked into the theater and into a small room where some of the people responsible for the play were gathered. I approached a woman (probably in her mid 30s) who was in charge and I blurted out that I hadn't memorized my lines. Several people overheard me and a general state of agitation ensued. I pointed out that no rehearsals had been held and no one had even talked with me about the play.

I was surprised to learn that the other actors seemed to have learned their lines, and even though they hadn't rehearsed, they seemed prepared to go forth with the production today. I felt bad and I tired to think of some way I might still be able to participate. Perhaps I could simply read my part. That however did not seem practical. I could just imagine reading and stumbling over my lines -- the audience would surely be irked.

I still had several hours -- perhaps I could still memorize my lines. I pulled out my copy of the play and began reading my lines. My character didn't make an appearance in the early part of the play. Thus I would have a little extra time to memorize. Maybe I wouldn't even have to memorize -- maybe I could just make up my own lines. If I simply knew what the play was about, and how I was supposed to interact with the other actors, I could simply say whatever I thought was appropriate.

The more I thought about it, the more appealing this method seemed. I even thought that in the future, if I were ever in another play, I would first try to sit down with the actors and determine exactly how we related with each other. Once the relationships were established, the dialogue should follow more easily.

Maybe I still had time. I began concentrating on the play itself rather than the dialogue, trying to understand the meaning of the play and the relationship of the characters. If I could crack that nut, I still might be able to participate in the play today.

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