I arose from sleep about 9 a.m. at the Logan Street House. I was supposed to be the main actor in a play today, but I wasn't prepared. There had only been one rehearsal of the play, which had covered only a part of the first act of the three act play. I hadn't memorized my part in any of the acts and I hadn't even read the third act at all. Yet the play was scheduled to begin very soon.
I couldn't remember what I had been doing all the time in which I had been supposed to be working on the play. I wished I had at least stayed up the night before and tried to memorize some of my lines instead of waiting until the very last morning.
My mother was there. When I told her that I wasn't ready for the play and that I hadn't memorized my parts yet, she seemed somewhat surprised.
I had the play in my hand; I began trying to read the third act which was written in rhyming lines. Some of my parts were extremely long. I could hardly even read the text, but I was sure it was a comedy. It seemed to be set in 17th century France. I portrayed a fellow about 40 years old who owed some money to the public treasury and his debt was causing him all sorts of trouble. At the same time he was representing some other people with their troubles and generally acting like a buffoon.
I wanted my mother to call an information-number and find out what time the play was supposed to begin. If it didn't begin until 1 p.m., I might have a chance to at least memorize some of it.
My one hope was that someone would be behind the curtain who could read my lines to me so I could repeat them. How would that sound? I would have to wait and hear my lines each time before I could speak my parts. I was unsure how that would all turn out.
My mother called the information-number and was told that the plays usually began about 9:30. It was already almost 9:30! I was clearly in big trouble. How could I avoid going there? Perhaps I could fall down some steps and injure myself. An announcement could then be made that I had been injured and someone else could just read my part.
Suddenly, I found myself at the theater. The other actors were getting ready. My old best friend in my college years, Weinstein, was there; he likewise was in the play. I asked him if he had memorized his part. Apparently, he hadn't memorized all of it; but he had a good idea what his part was about and I had the feeling he knew most of it. I didn't know whether the other actors knew their parts.
I walked up to a woman (about 40 years old) in charge of the show; I told her I simply hadn't memorized my part. She said she had been afraid of that. I asked her if she was going to be there to prompt us. She said she would.
The audience was beginning to fill up the theater. I felt extremely miserable. Perhaps I would just ad lib my part and make up lines as I went along. I looked at the beginning of the play. I thought I would be the first actor but then I realized that two people would first make some kind of long announcement.
I was standing behind the curtains on the side of the stage. Perhaps if I had the script with me I could memorize my lines each time before I ran onto the stage. I tried to at least memorize my first two lines. Apparently, I was to begin by explaining that I was in the public debt and was also helping some other people with their problems.
The curtain finally went up and the play began. A girl (about 20 years old) ran onto the stage and back and forth across it. I asked the woman in charge if I was supposed to go out there also. Apparently, indeed, I was supposed to go onto the stage and dance back and forth across the stage with the girl. Someone said, "Go."
I ran onto the stage; the girl seemed to make a face at me as if I had been late getting out there. I began dancing back and forth across the stage. First I would throw one arm up into the air perpendicular to the ground and then I would throw the other arm up the same way as I pranced back and forth. I wasn't sure I was dressed correctly. I had one sock on and one sock off. I was wearing a red toboggan, but I was unsure whether I was supposed to have it on.
People began laughing uproariously; they certainly seemed to be enjoying what I was doing. I could hear my father laughing above everyone else. My old law school professor, McSwain, was also in the audience. Being on the stage and making people laugh actually felt rather good, but I really was unsure what I was supposed to do next; I still felt miserable.
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