I believe it's called the actor's nightmare. I'm 0% an actor, so why am I getting stuck with it?
I hereby apologize to every dream-person who came out to last night's opening night production of Romeo & Juliet. Although you should have perhaps been wary of seeing a production of the play with a playwright in the lead role, you still deserved better than what you got. Although I muddled my way through my first scene, it went downhill from there. Fast.
The modern dance number in the second act was a particular embarrassment. When the music started, I turned to my Juliet—the inestimable Kate Eastman—and muttered, "I don't know this dance!"
"I forgot to practice!"
The look she gave me could have quick-pickled a cucumber. I muddled through the dance, following her lead like a toddler who wants to boogie like Mommy, and escaped off-stage to be yelled at by the cast and crew. It was humiliating.
I do have a few questions, though. What producer—real or imaginary—thought it was a good idea to cast me in a play? Why, throughout rehearsals and previews, did no one notice that I never went off book? Why did they make me dance? And lastly, what bastardized version of the script was this, that starts with the balcony scene, then skips to a half-witted dance number, and ends a half hour later with Romeo (just Romeo!) dying?
My death, at least, brought the audience to its feet. That part I got right.