I had never felt so exposed in my entire life. There I was, just standing there, silent, willing the words to come to me. I had prepared for this moment, mentally and physically, but now that it was happening I was frozen.
Suddenly I understood the saying, “Just picture them all in their underwear.” If I was going to be exposed, why shouldn’t they? Unfortunately, that has never worked for me, but at least it makes a little more sense now.
I go between shifts of being blinded by the light to being overwhelmed by the mass of people in front of me. These people were here to watch me perform, hell, I wanted them to be here! I had been so worried that no one would show up, that my one-woman show would literally be just that; me performing in front of an empty audience, alone. Not the case.
I summon up the opening lines and I begin. Suddenly, the crowd bursts into laughter, at the very unhumorous introduction. I look around, trying to figure out what is so funny, but nothing appears out of place, nothing that would elicit that sort of a reaction.
I try to continue, but I can’t even hear myself over the sound of the crowd. I look down, to see if there was some kind of stain that I hadn’t noticed, and realized that I was, in fact, nearly naked. How the hell had this happened? I knew I was frazzled before the curtain went up, but I know I put on my blue velvet dress (yes, velvet under the hot stage lights, but it’s what made sense for the character).
I run offstage, utterly confused by it all. Why had everyone waited until I had spoken to laugh? I know I had paused a bit before beginning. I looked around for my dress, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I can hear the crowd, still laughing, slowing beginning to chant my name. What do they want? Do they actually want to see my show? Or do they just want to see my pink and purple polka-dotted panties?
And suddenly I am in my bed, covered in a sheen of sweat. I look at my phone and see that is is five am on Saturday, a full twelve hours before my show starts.
Great, now I have even more to be worried about. Either no one shows up and I look like a loser, or everyone shows up and I make some crazy mistake, like forgetting to get dressed! I just can’t win.