As I was trying to put on mascara and remember lines I had never read nor heard, I also tried to rearrange the house
Julia and Laurent were moving out of their house in South Africa and it was chaos. They weren’t ready.
At the same time, I realized I was imminently expected to be in a play in their house. I wasn’t ready.
I didn’t know my lines or my role. It might have been a new Arthur Miller… I spent minutes attempting to figure out the stage—which seemed to be the uncovered front verandah.
It was dusk, light waning all the time, and as the audience collected I realized that:
a) they were tribal chiefs and African tribesmen slowly coming out of the bush and off the plains
b) there were rafters stage right where Kevin McKenna and a young friend sat, discussing me. Something about how I still looked good for my age…I could only catch moments of their conversation. (Kevin, it seemed, was also going to be in the play.)
Once I had some sense of the stage, I went inside to try on my costume: a red velvet Victorian skirt and a red t-shirt—it looked absolutely atrocious. As I was applying mascara and attempting to remember lines I had never read nor heard, I also rearranged the house; doing a dish each time I paced by the sink.
Movers shuffled in and out.
My panic rose as I strategized how to either:
a) fake the play and my lines or get out of it
b) figure out how Julia and Laurent were going to move out successfully.
While pacing and attempting to prepare for I knew not what, I noticed that one corner by the back door had an ancient small chair. The back door was slightly open and the walls were white. The spare, simple nature of the space suddenly made it all seem much better.
I kept thinking, You don’t even know what the play is about.