As a writer, the thing I like about theater is, as they say, “Anything Goes.” People, animals, objects can all come to life. There are the tiniest restrictions
like how long an audience can survive without food or water on your imagination. But otherwise, you’re free to roam.
So, I was happy this past weekend to ring a bell repeatedly from offstage for a short play called “Sure Thing” by David Ives while a couple on stage met, re-met, went forward, went back and just stopped completely.
But the part that turned my white hair a ghostlier white
and made a puddle on the floor where I was standing was when during a performance yay, live theater! the actors veered off of page 2 and leaped to page 125, or thereabouts.
Which left me, bell dinger extraordinaire, offstage panicked and crazily flipping through the script wondering where the hell a bell should ding.
The whole play flashed before my eyes
and unbeknownst to the audience, before them, too in a matter of seconds. A five minute play was about to be a two minute play.
Ah, life! Just when you hunker down with a script and think you know where it’s going, life says f@ck y*u, pal!
I thought about dinging the crap outta the bell, just to show them actors who’s boss, but I
was frozen in terror waited to see where they took it.
And guess what? They took it back to page 2. Sure, they may have skipped a couple of lines
and made my heart feel like it was chased by a bear, but they regrouped in front of the crowd, who was none the wiser, and kept moving.
So, that’s the lesson for acting
and living I take from this most humongous of my numerous theater freak-out moments: what’s important is to just keep moving.
You’ll eventually land somewhere.