Tuesday, April 21, 2009
When I auditioned for Crimes of the Heart, I sort of secretly hoped I wouldn't get cast.
It sounds awful, I know, but I really have a lot going on. I kept thinking about the seven kids who needed help with homework, rides to and from therapy appointments, a mama to cook dinner for them and make sure they got their teeth brushed at bedtime. I stressed over the rehearsal schedule, my column deadlines, publication dates for my magazine, Library Board meetings, Friends of the Library meetings... It was all too much.
When I got the call from our amazing director, asking me to take the part of Lenny, I called Mr. Wright... in tears. "How can I take this part? Who will feed the kids? How will I ever find time to learn my lines?" I wailed.
"It will be fine," he soothed. "I can cook, you know... and I'll help you learn your lines. I'll run lines with you. Take the part!"
Mr. Wright and I both have a history in theater. He knows as well as I do the commitment involved in a show, and yet he was reassuring me, encouraging me to return to the stage. Feeling better, I accepted the role.
After the first couple of read-throughs, I was serious about learning my lines. I brought my script home after rehearsal and handed it to him. "I'm ready. Run lines with me," I insisted. Ever supportive, an exhausted Mr. Wright took the book, opened it, began reading (to my delight, with different voices for each character), and... promptly fell asleep halfway through the first scene.
It wasn't an isolated incident. As it turns out, Beth Henley's script is the answer to any sort of insomnia problem my husband may have had. It never failed. He'd open the book, and within the first five pages, would fall dead asleep in an inexplicable fit of narcolepsy. As a result, I learned my first five lines really, really well... The others? Not so much.
It was frustrating, to say the least. With ten days until opening night, after a particularly horrid rehearsal that had me dropping lines throughout the show like proverbial hot potatoes, I called Mr. Wright on the way home from rehearsal. "You've failed me," I announced. "I don't know my lines, and I'm pretty sure it's your fault. You said you'd help me, but you don't! You fall asleep every time I need to run lines, and..." On and on it went, for the entire twenty minute drive home.
As I pulled into the driveway, my much-berated husband met me with a hug. "I'm sorry. I will help you run lines tonight. I've made a whole pot of coffee, and I'll drink the whole thing if that's what it takes to stay awake and help you." He put his arm around me and walked me into the house. "I'm serious. I'll stay up with you for as long as it takes. Now, where's your script?"
Backstage at the Performing Arts Center, of course. Oops.
Last night was particularly grueling - the first night of Hell Week. Again, I arrived home from rehearsal in a state of irritation at forgotten lines. Miraculously, I remembered to bring my script home. "I've been waiting for you to get home, so I could help you run lines," Mr. Wright offered.
He was good. He was so good! He ran every single scene with me, right up until...