Dreaming of Patti

NEW YORK - JUNE 10:  Actress Patti LuPone attends the 61st Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2007 in New York City.  (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)

So...that Patti LuPone review.  I wrote it at 3 AM because I was having trouble sleeping, and felt, after finishing, that it was kind of a bitchy review and I regretted that, but on the other hand I had to be true to what I thought, and...there it was.  Of course I fell into a fitful sleep and Patti LuPone crept in to haunt my dreams.

I dreamt that she'd been cast in an Equity show being put up in Austin and the producers had rented out a big, beautiful house for her.  Before she arrived to join the rest of the cast already in rehearsals, I read and reviewed her memoir.  Then she flew in, we had some rehearsals with her and she was delightful.  As far as I knew, we were all one big happy family. 

But then one Sunday I stop by her house to borrow a cup of sugar and when I get there, I discover a crowd of cars filling her driveway and spilling out into the street and down the block.  I knock on the door and Patti opens it, seeming just a touch surprised to see me, but not at all displeased.  "Oh, hi!" she says.  "I'm just having a little get together.  You need to borrow some sugar???  Sure!  Come on in."  I step inside and look around at all the familiar faces surrounding me. It seems as if everyone from the show has been invited to this party:  the cast, the crew, the producers, their families...there's not a soul missing, and they all get silent as I walk in.  One or two of them darts me a pitying look.  "I'm just here to borrow some sugar," I say to break the silence.  "I wasn't invited to this."  I say the last part in a kind of joking way, to dispel the tension, but like most attempts of this nature it just added another layer of "awkward".   As I leave the party I can't help but wonder if Patti read the review, or if she just hates me as a person.  Or both.  And which would be worse?

There's a lot I don't remember in between, but I'm sure I did a lot of ass kissing to Patti LuPone from that day until opening night and when it finally arrived and it came time for our big scene together, I was nervous as hell.  Patti played a glamorous sorceress in the time of the Salem witch trials.  She was clad in rags and peasant clothes, but somehow managed them to look regal.  During our big scene she stood on a rocky plateau, elevated from the rest of the stage and spoke a dramatic monologue as I wandered around below her.  She was supposed to call birds to her at one point, so they'd supplied her with big bags of seed to get them to come to her (we were performing at an outdoor theater).  And any time I was directed to move in the scene, or speak, or what have you, Patti would beam down on me and toss a SHITLOAD of bird scene down in the place I was supposed to walk, just before I arrived there, so I would be mauled by flocks of angry crows fighting their way to the food.  This happened at least three times, and each time I was powerless to alter my blocking in anyway, and resolved myself to getting attacked by the birds.

I learned one lesson from the dream.  Don't mess with Patti Lu Pone, even in the mildest way, or she'll find a way to get you.
Joe HartmanPatti LuPone