Actors’ Perspective: The Actor’s Nightmare

By on

By Sarah Brnjas

Acommon terminology associated with acting and theatre is the term “stage fright”, where a person is struck by nerves and suddenly unable to preform as intended, usually in the form of forgetting one’s lines. In The Actor’s Nightmare by Christopher Durang, almost every nightmare an actor has regarding performing comes to life in this hilarious, non-stop fun of a play, which, according to the actors, is as fun rehearsing it is as watching it be performed. Even if it brings to memory some nightmares better left behind in the shadows of dreams.

Karl Zaryski (Henry) has been with KWLT for half a dozen plays and still has the occasional bad dream about blanking on lines and having on the wrong costume. Kim Shea who plays Sarah Siddons modestly boasts she’s never had an actor’s nightmare per say, though she has had the dream where it’s been a few years after the show performances and she’s required to go back on stage once more without rehearsing. Shannon Broekhoven (Meg the Stage Manager) finds it quite hilarious and almost therapeutic that she is now in a play about someone forgetting lines when she has had the common dream of forgetting her lines.

The hardest part about the play for the actors seems to be the actual memorizing of the lines their characters are supposedly forgetting. Memorization can only take you so far when lines are taken from other well-known plays and tossed in without any context. Amanda Andrews (Dame Ellen Terry) just finds it hard to memorize absurdist lines with absurdist actions. Finding the flow of the lines to keep the humor of the non-sensical going, while attempting to keep it making sense within the plot of the play.

Marco Quattrociocchi (George) is confident in his memorization skills; but his focus is preparing himself to be without water breaks for the entirety of the thirty-minute act. He’s been training himself, slowing waning himself off water. His goal is to sustain the entire show without getting dry mouth: another example of an actor’s worst nightmare.

All the actors encourage everyone to come see the show: because if you don’t relate to at least one of the nightmares that come to light in this play, you will laugh at the constant stream of nightmares that seem to pile up on these characters as if the author took pleasure in recreating every possible nightmare that can exist on one stage. 

Actor's Nightmare - Marco, Shannon