Remember Shakespeare in Love? When everything was going wrong, we were assured that it would be all right. It's a mystery but it will be all right. And it was: the stutterer stopped stuttering and the show went on. That's all I have left to hope for.
The public reading goes on tonight, here in New York (Brooklyn, actually). We haven't had anything like the projected 20 hours rehearsal. We haven't even had a cast. First the director, God bless him, had to bow out because he's having surgery (cancer of the colon) today. I like his replacement, a very talented man, and nice, too. My leading lady was late to the first rehearsal because she was/is suffering muscle spasms and fell asleep with her painkillers. She is soldiering on, bless her. The male lead bowed out because he got a commercial to do today and needs the money. His replacement, who missed the first rehearsals, but received a script a day ago, bowed out of his first rehearsal yesterday because his wife, bless her, suffered a grand mal seizure and he had to take her to the hospital and stay with her. We will meet him today for the final rehearsal before the public comes in. No one has gone through the entire script in order, not even once. I read in the first night, for the actors' sakes; the sub-director has read in - he's very good, but too old for the part. Besides, he'll be busy reading stage directions because the person who was asked, couldn't do it.
It won't be a staged reading; it will be a barely read reading. And the play is my masterpiece, according to my best friend, guide, critic and mentor. I have worked on it for years, never losing hope - until now.
This is the end. I quit. I will fold my tent and quietly slip away into oblivion.
Not that anyone will notice.