The role of the understudies always fascinated me. You had to do all the work; line memorization, blocking, rehearsals, but chances are you probably wouldn't even get to participate. Being an understudy looked like it would kinda suck.
The funny thing is, since my daughter was born, I have been an understudy and didn't even know it. And since I was unaware of my role, I was ill-prepared when the main player went down and I was asked to take over the role.
When the curtain raised on opening night, the spotlight threatened to blind me. Diabetes... WHAT? Beta cells in the islets of WHERE? DEATH OF A PANCREAS??? I've never even heard of that play! I didn't know my lines. Where to stand. Talk about stage fright.
But thankfully, I have always loved improv and I'm pretty good at thinking on my toes. And so here I am; with a pretty big role in a very important production. We're 2 1/2 years into our run and even though I've flubbed a few lines, been late to rehearsals a couple of times and had some diva moments where I've refused to come out of my dressing room, I think I'm doing a pretty adequate job in my role of pancreas.
But in this case, I sure wish I had remained the understudy.
me circa 1992 in my junior high's production of Our Town. It's okay... I give you permission to laugh