caught, or why i was up at 3:34 am

I'm home from rehearsing a new play that will open December 3, 2010 at the Zephyr Theatre in Los Angeles. That it is a new play means that I'll be originating a role, an experience I find both a joy and a nightmare, literally.  I'm playing a woman very far removed from my own experience on  many levels, and making sure I tell the truth of who she is has got me a little anxious.

The work that actors do is special. And by special, I don't mean vaunted or More Important Than Other Work. I mean different and strange. My work takes me out of the house at odd hours and leaves me talking to myself on a regular basis. Thanks Haysus for hands-free phones; now when my neighbor on the 405 watches me madly gesticulating and pontificating, I can pretend it's because I'm On The Phone (sometimes I'll even do a little dumb play with my phone to add to the illusion when I know I've been, um, caught.)

As to the literal nightmare, I never sleep more poorly or dream more vividly than when I'm rehearsing a play that's gotten under my skin. Not all of them do. But the tougher ones, the ones with themes of violence or hate or deep, deep love occupy my mind almost around the clock during the 4- or 5- week rehearsal period. Caught is one of those plays.

The reward I get for all this Big Suffering is to move around on a stage and say someone else's Beautiful Words. To be someone else for an hour and fifty-two minutes. To maybe, if I'm lucky, mirror for a couple of people something difficult they're working out in their own lives. To expose some small truth. To make somebody chuckle in recognition.

I won't  tell all Caught's secrets, but it deals with questions around love, family and faith. It's a very funny, very affecting play being originated by a team of some of Los Angeles' and New York's top theater professionals. I think it's gonna be one to see.

Caught, the play