The Actors’ Nightmare

I was chatting with a couple of theatre colleagues this morning and as inevitably happens, we started swapping trade stories. We discovered that we shared the same kind of anxiety dream, what I’ve always called the actors’ nightmare. You’ve probably also experienced them if you’re an actor or have had to give a public presentation. It goes something like this … and there are lots of variations.

You’re on stage in your pyjamas (or the wrong costume). With me it’s pyjamas.
You’re backstage but cannot find your way to the stage.
You are in the wrong play.
The stage keeps moving and you’re sinking.

Recognise any of these? Welcome to the actors’ nightmare. These usually happen towards the end of rehearsals and in some ways are like old friends. “Ah” you say, “I’ve had the nightmare. All’s well with the psyche.”






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