"The Actor's Nightmare"

Breonna North as Meg in a scene from "The Actor's Nightmare." The one-act play, directed by LBCC student Isaac Newton, opens Thursday night at the Russell Tripp Performance Center in Albany.  

Photo by Angela Scott

Every actor worries about forgetting one or two lines during the course of a play performance, but that's not the worst thing that can happen to them on stage.

Consider, for example, the plight of George Spelvin, the main character in "The Actor's Nightmare." He wakes up backstage in a theater, and doesn't know how he got there.

Then things get worse.

"He ends up in his underwear and is shoved on stage, and the play keeps changing around him," said Isaac Newton, who's directing the one-act comedy by Christopher Durang at Linn-Benton Community College. The play opens Thursday night at LBCC's Russell Tripp Performance Center.

Spelvin, played by Matthew Shelton, is an accountant who is mistaken for an understudy. The play begins with George backstage trying to explain to Meg, the stage manager (Aislin Goldrick), that he has no idea why he is there.

George eventually finds himself on stage, expected to perform in an unknown play among three actors: Sarah (Sophia Brown), Ellen (Breonna North) and Henry (Jake Tudor).

"It's a crazy series of events that he can't wrap his head around exactly what's going on," Newton said. "It comes with a surprise ending."

Newton, a graduate of Lebanon High School, was assigned Durang's play to direct as a student production. He has previously acted and been an assistant director in several plays at LBCC, though this is his first time directing for the main stage.

Newton said he had to study the script before he knew what to do to put the play together.

He worried a little about not having enough people to fill the crew, since many students transferred away to other schools last year, he said. But on that front, his worries were unfounded.

"Right now we have the involvement of more than 50 people, so it's really just exploded," Newton said. "Students have been excited to come in and help out."

Twenty to 25 students also auditioned for the five roles in the play, he said.

Newton, who plans to pursue a bachelor of fine arts in directing and possibly a masters in theater management once he transfers from LBCC, expects that audience members will find "The Actor's Nightmare" a fun time.

"I think this is a show where you can just leave your worries at the door. Watch someone else stress out for a change, and pick it all back up when you leave," Newton said.

Proceeds from the play will support the theater club, The Black Curtain Society, on its trip to the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Spokane, Washington in February.

The large theater festival invites college theater programs from seven states to perform 10-minute plays for a competition, has auditions for scholarships, and more, Newton said.

"That's the fun thing for me right now. I'm doing this (play), and found out I was chosen to direct the plays this year," he said.

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