My Neighbour Errol: Opening Night Nerves
It’s true that since becoming friends with Errol, I have had to get used to random outbursts of crazy.
But on the other side of things, Errol has had to get used to my frequent nervous spells. It’s not easy dealing with a nervous Manda (ask…any of my friends). And there is no worse nervous spell than the terror that is Opening Night.
To be specific, Opening Night for this show. Which I wrote a play for and in which Errol is performing as Debs and Errol!
Opening Nights are terrible for me. They are full of doom feelings and I spend most of the day trying not to panic as my nerves physically manifest themselves as intestinal diseases. More often than not I will think of bailing last minute, certain that it’s not too late to back out before people discover that I am a hack performer.
And so on the phone call from Errol this morning I despaired:
Me: I’m nervous for tonight!
Errol (dripping with sarcasm): Oh, really?
Me: Yes, really and shut-up! I’ve been feeling like I’m going to puke for two days!
Me: It’s stressful!
Errol: Well, I guess I can understand that. It’s natural to be nervous when you’re acting in a play.
Me: OH, shut-up.
Errol: OH, right, you’re not acting. Well, it’s still natural to be nervous when you’re directing. You know, not knowing if everything will go right and making sure you have everything.
Me: $#@! Off
Errol: Oh, wait, that’s right, you don’t have anything to worry about at all.
Me: YOU CAN STILL BE NERVOUS AS THE WRITER!
Errol: (snickers like a jerkface)
Yes, really I’ve only written one of the ten minute plays in the festival. This was a show I actually had no intention of involving myself in. I knew I’d be doing another show at the same time, and that I would have no time. Then, somehow, I found myself submitting a play on an impulsive whim. Then someone picked that play. And now suddenly there are actors and a director bringing it to life.
It’s especially weird because this will be the first time that I am not acting in something I wrote. It’s an odd feeling. Oh, I completely trust the actors and director. And I’m excited to see how the script was interpreted by voices that are not my own.
But still, I’m getting nerves. Technically, I have the easiest job of all tonight: sitting in the audience and seeing how it unfolds (okay, I’m helping produce now as well, so there are admin things to worry about). But that doesn’t mean I can’t be nervous about it. After all, these are my words, and I will be watching people react or not react to those words. Will they think it’s funny? Will they refuse to laugh? Will they wonder who the heck let this playwright get this far? It’s all very unknown and panic inducing.
Errol knows this. He probably even understands. But Errol is not here on this planet to sympathize. He is here to monopolize on others’ pain and neuroses. And so as I sat there furiously defending my butterflies I suddenly realized that there was a sound coming from the other end of the phone.
The ONLY upside to all of this was that for about twenty seconds I forgot I was nervous. That is really twisted when you think about it.
Also, if you live in Toronto and have time, you should come see the show! I’ll be the one fretting in the corner.