It happened during the dress rehearsal of The Christmas Carol last night at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro. The Ancient One in a partial costume for The Ghost of Jacob Marley (chains and make-up will be added tonight) began his scene with Scrooge. His face appeared in the door as the ghostly voice intoned, "Ebenezer. . . Ebenezer." The scene then continued as Marley appeared on stage to warn Scrooge of the coming of 3 haunting spirits.
In the midst of his monologue explaining the chains that weighed him down, Marley turns away from Scrooge saying, "I cannot rest, I cannot stay, I cannot linger anywhere! . . . . . . . ." And then silence for what seemed like an eternity. The Ancient One's mind went totally blank. He knew where he was; he knew there was more to the line. But there was not a thought in his head other than wondering what could possibly come next. What was the rest of the monologue he recites to himself many times each day. And it was one of those times where there was nothing the other actor on stage could do to help him escape from his dilemma. It was a classic "brain fart;" a total disconnect from what was going on; a total blanking out of the mind that appears randomly, without any warning and is an actor's nightmare.
The Director, Ray Buffer, finally saved The Ancient One by interrupting to make a minor change in the blocking of the scene. When the scene resumed, the monologue was delivered flawlessly. All the lines were there and the rehearsal continued.
Tonight is the final rehearsal for The Christmas Carol, the final production in The Relevant Stage's inaugural season at the Warner Grand. Then it's on to the 4 performances (tomorrow thru Sunday). If any readers stop by for the show, be sure to wait around to say hello to The Ancient One and the rest of the cast when they emerge from the dressing rooms into the lobby after the performance.