What’s it like to stand before a lot of people – some you know and some you don’t – and become someone else?
After the torture of studying words you would never say in real life which makes it even harder to remember them. And after the fear that you will never remember your lines and ruin the whole play, as your last word is the cue for the next actor’s lines. After all that comes the excitement of the first laughter heard as if from a distant place. You are now on a stage behind the footlights and you are Sarah Jane Dinsmore. You know she is a one hundred and eighty degree turnaround from Bunny. So how can you make the audience believe that the woman they have known for three years is no longer here?
You prepare. You think about who this other strange woman was in her life, what she wore and whom she knew. Her speech patterns and the moves of her body have to be created from her history, age and attitude. This was all the stuff you learned in acting school fifty years ago and never thought you would use ever, let alone in Rosarito, in Baja California, in Mexico, at this age.
You swear you’ll never put yourself through this again – the agony of the loneliness and fear you go through if you want to act on stage or write the material the actors perform.
Then opening night comes too quickly. All the actors pace and struggle to remember the words they will deliver this evening. The curtain goes up and there’s that first laugh, and it’s a damn good one, then another and another. You become this Sarah Jane person and forget Bunny. When all the words are said, it’s time for the cast bow. Your heart races and at that moment you know what a ham you are and that you cannot wait for the next opportunity to suffer for your art. Ah yes, the play’s the thing.