You’re a stage actor in your first lead role. Right as you go out on stage to deliver your first line, you draw a blank. The words that you had memorized disappear and you’re forced to ad lib in front of a room full of strangers.
This is the premise of “The Actor’s Nightmare,” the latest play from LBCC’s student theater club, The Black Curtain Society. The play premieres Thursday, Nov. 16 and runs through Saturday, Nov. 18 in the Russell Tripp Auditorium.
Originally written by Christopher Durang in 1981, “The Actor’s Nightmare” is inspired by dreams performers might have in which they can’t remember their lines before going onstage.
The play centers around an accountant named George Spelvin, who mysteriously appears backstage on a play he doesn’t know any of the lines for. He is then forced to act in the play when he is mistaken for an actor’s understudy by the stage manager, Meg.
Isaac Newton, president of the Black Curtain Society, will be making his directorial debut and he talked about some of the challenges he faced when he was first given the reigns of “The Actor’s Nightmare.”
“Originally I was very excited, but also terrified because I knew the majority of the theater kids were going to be migrating off somewhere else. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do it, but with the help of my stage manager Hannah Costa it is all coming together,” said Newton.
Newton also expressed his admiration for the team he has behind the scenes.
“Our design team has been kicking ass. They go above and beyond everything I could have expected,” said Newton.
Costa talked about the difficulties of working in a black box format but also mentioned how she felt the play would benefit from it.
“The setting of a black box theater, being very close and personal with the audience, doesn’t allow for a lot of grace between the actor and the audience. It’s very upfront,” said Costa.
“There are things that you can’t do in a big stage theater that you can do in a black box which makes it a lot more intimate.”
The cast is composed of five LBCC theater students. Matthew Shelton will be playing George, Aislin Goldrick will play the stage manager Meg, Sophia Brown will be the actress Sarah, Jake Tudor will play the actor Henry, and Breonna North will play the actress Ellen.
“This play is very unorthodox, it calls a lot of attention to the fact that it’s a play within a play. I think my character is just as confused as the audience might be,” said Shelton.
“It’s funny seeing my character just fail to understand the gravity of the situation and be completely clueless.”
Brown is excited to play Sarah, a character she describes as a Katharine Hepburn-esque diva, because she feels the character is completely different from her actual self.
“I feel like I’m a pretty subdued person in real life so it’s kind of refreshing to play someone who is a little outrageous and a little bit mean,” said Brown.
North was pleased with the range of roles her character Ellen portrays in the play.
“Literally all that we have about my character is that she’s ‘less grand than sarah.’ So from there I just get to make it up,” said North.
“My character gets to play a couple of characters that are really fun, one minute I’m being cheated on and weeping, the next I’m in a trash can staring dreamily off into space. I get to have a nice variety of parts in this play, it’s nice.”
Goldrick shared how her character as Meg the stage manager was fun to play because of the snarky attitude she gets to have, but said that her favorite part of the show was the character George.
“Personally, the character George is just hilarious. It’s kind of what everyone would imagine a non-actor would be like if they got up on stage. He has no idea what he’s doing and the monologue he has towards the end, which I won’t spoil, is absolutely hilarious and is just a very odd tangent,” said Goldrick.
Newton is looking ahead to prepare for opening night, which is just over a week away. He encourages anyone looking for a fun and different kind of night out to come and enjoy the play.
“If you just want a night out and just want to have some laughs and support a good cause, this would be a good way to do it,” said Newton.
At a Glance:
“The Actor’s Nightmare” premieres Thursday, Nov. 16 through Saturday, Nov. 18 in the Russell Tripp Auditorium. The shows start at 7:30 p.m. and will be presented in a “black box” format, with seating on stage. Tickets will be on sale at the LBCC Box office and will be $10 for general admission and $7 for students and seniors. Concessions will also be sold by the Black Curtain Society before the show, as well as a 50-50 raffle. All proceeds for the play will go towards the Black Curtain Society’s trip to the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, which is being held in February in Spokane, Washington.
For more information about “The Actor’s Nightmare” contact the LBCC box office at 541-917-4531 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone interested in the Black Curtain Society can contact them at TheBlackCurtainSociety@Gmail.com, on their facebook page at “The Black Curtain Society”, or on LBLive.
Story by Joshua Stickrod