What To Remember When You Can’t Remember, or A Story in Two Parts
Part One: When You Can’t Remember
I went up in rehearsal tonight. With only one rehearsal left before our first preview. I did not just forget a line. I lost my place in the story. I stood in silence a long time and waited for the story to come back to me.
It felt terrifying and then humiliating. I was flaming out in the presence of people I respect and care about. People who are trusting me to get it right. I was pissed and wanted to do it all again.
Director Trull asked if I trusted him.
Then he asked me to get out of costume, take notes and go home.
Part Two: What To Remember
I came home to emails that reminded me that I have friends with real problems. Life and death problems. In comparison, my anxieties about this particular rehearsal and this play really do not qualify. They do not even belong in the same conversation.
I do not mean this to trivialize or excuse my mistakes tonight. They were, for me, difficult reminders that a certain kind of failure is always a real and unpredictable possibility. There is a real risk of letting myself down, and worse, letting down people who are trusting me with their own hard work.
But my friends’ struggles remind me that the real gift of the work — and what I personally value most about my time in the theater — is the time we have with each other. When all is said and done, it is not so much the plays we will miss and remember. It’s the people. And my world is full of caring and supportive people.
Getting it right is important, but it is not what’s most important.
As Bob Birdnow might say: ”I suppose I should remember that one.”