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Working Through Nightmares and Kitchen Dog


by Michael Federico 6 May 2009

Guest blogger Michael Federico is a member of the Kitchen Dog Theater Company. I guess most people who’ve been in plays have experienced the good old “actor’s nightmare” at least once in their lives. You know, the one where you’re thrown onto the stage in a play you know nothing about, and you haven’t memorized […]

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Guest blogger Michael Federico is a member of the Kitchen Dog Theater Company.

I guess most people who’ve been in plays have experienced the good old “actor’s nightmare” at least once in their lives. You know, the one where you’re thrown onto the stage in a play you know nothing about, and you haven’t memorized the lines, and everyone is staring at you, and you may or may not be naked depending on whether or not nakedness is nightmarish to you. (It’s your dream. I don’t judge.)

Well, I’ve spent the entire week having an actor’s nightmare of my own. However, mine has nothing to do with memorizing or a lack of pants; it has to do with keys. Many, many keys. And believe me people, these keys are angry.

My recent bout of night terrors can be linked to rehearsals for Jihad Jones and The Kalashnikov Babes at Kitchen Dog Theater. More specifically, my horror can be blamed on director Tina Parker and fellow KDT artistic company member Aaron Ginsburg. Mr. Ginsburg flew in from Los Angeles this week, and together he and Ms. Parker have crafted one of the most intricate pieces of physical comedy I have ever been involved in. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say this: it involves a lot of running and sweating. Oh, and keys. A lot of keys. Diabolical, evil keys. “Do you have these keys?” “What about those keys?” “Make sure you grab the keys?” “Federico, did you steal the keys!!!???” This is all I hear when I close my eyes and try to sleep. These keys are my responsibility, as is doing justice to Tina, Aaron and the playwright’s creation – a five-page, 40+ moves piece of classic clownery (I should call it a lazzi, so my theater history professor knows I really was paying attention all those years ago).

Despite the nightmares and the realization that I clearly angered my two friends in the past (I am being punished for something, right?), it’s been a lot of fun working through it this week. My last show at KDT was The Pillowman, and it’s been great to dive into something entirely different. Now, if I can just stop the Nightmare Man with the key-blade glove from getting me, I should be fine.

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  • Lee Trull

    My last two theater nightmares involved fear that the gun wouldn’t go off in Pillowman (how do you improv your way out of that?) and that my wig would fall off in In the Beginning. Such a silly job, acting.

  • Cameron Cobb

    I think just saying “… so does this mean we’re good?” and walking off-stage with the hood on would have sufficed. Maybe running into a wall to give a nice comedic button.