So with a month to go until opening night, the pressure is on to 'get books down'. Act I is pretty much there, but Act II needs some serious line learning on my part.
The days of having a prompt sitting in the corner as a security blanket have well and truly passed, and we always go on knowing it is down to us to get ourselves out of any sticky situations that may arise. There is nothing more frightening than seeing the fear in a fellow actors face, as their lines disappear right before your eyes, or the same happening to you.
One of the worst feelings (and it happens to me one performance of every play I have ever been in) is the time your mouth is speaking your lines, but your brain is somewhere else. Usually with me, I have a voice speaking out loud in my head "you must concentrate ... I cannot believe my lines are coming out and I am thinking this ... what is my next line ..... busy house tonight" - and all this goes on while my mouth continues speaking the play! It does not matter how much I tell myself to focus back on the play, the voices in my head take over.
The other thing I have to deal with every production, is my repetitive nightmare of standing in the wings waiting to go on into a play I know nothing about. Desperately trying to learn lines in the few seconds before I am due to enter the scene, not having a costume, or the first clue as to what play I am actually in ...... cart me off in the white jacket now.
One of the funniest prompts I have heard, was in a very bad 'village hall' production some years ago. Everything that could have gone wrong, had. At one point an actress was vacuuming and the sound effect for the hoover had, for some reason, been abruptly stopped, so she continued the scene making the hoover noise herself, in-between her lines! Anyway I digress .... this old actor completely dried, he sidled to the side of the the stage where prompt was obviously sitting, and said very loudly 'PROMPT', to which the prompt gave him his forgotten line "I can't remember what I was going to say". Priceless.
And on that note, I have well and truly scared myself into pulling out my script and getting those lines learnt!