The Actor's Nightmare (2000)
Directed by Anton Krause
Presented as part of a double bill with Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound.
Conceived as a companion piece to the author's award-winning short play Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it all for You (and providing for doubling by the same actors), this hilarious spoof details the plight of a stranger who is suddenly pushed on stage to replace an ailing actor.
THE STORY: This play was inspired by the well known dream that many people in professional and amateur theatre have, that they must perform in a play that they have inexplicably never been to rehearsals for, and for which they know neither the lines or the plot.
So in this play George is an accountant who wanders onto an empty stage, not certain where he is or how he got there. The stage manager informs him he’s the understudy, and must go on in a few minutes. George doesn’t know his name, doesn’t think he’s an actor ("I think I’m an accountant"), and has no idea what play he’s supposed to do.
He’s pushed onstage dressed as Hamlet, and finds himself opposite a glamorous actress who seemingly is in Noel Coward’s Private Lives. George does his best to guess the lines, and guess appropriate behaviour, but then the actress leaves, and suddenly a new actor comes in, spouting Shakespearean verse (from Hamlet). This is much harder to guess, and after a while George is left alone and must improvise his own Shakespearean soliloquy.
In the closing sections, George finds himself thrust into a Samuel Beckett play (a combination of Waiting for Godot and Endgame), which he has very little knowledge of. And then suddenly he’s Sir Thomas More in the historical drama A Man for All Seasons, facing a beheading for opposing Henry VIII’s marriage to Anne Boleyn – and alarmingly the executioner seems more real than he should.
Author's Notes <ref>Author's Notes christopherdurang.com</ref>
- George Spelvin - Matthew Bartlett
- Announcer - Alan Walker
- Meg - Emma Gorie
- Sarah Siddons - Helen Chadney
- Ellen Terry - Kay Dobby
- Henry Irving - Jack King
- Executioner - Nik Anderson
- Designer - Alan Buckman
- Stage Manager - Jane Moorhead
- ASMs - Toby Wells, Steve Ellis
- Lighting - Bernard Bullbrook
- Sound - Paul O'Connor
- Set Construction - Alan Buckman
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