In case I haven’t made it abundantly clear, I am NOT a people person. I get uncomfortable eating breakfast with my family, I get jittery when driving somewhere that’s more than 30 minutes away, and I don’t think anyone’s ever heard a coherent sentence come out of my mouth.
Do I need help? Probably. Just one problem with that though: help would involve people, and most likely talking, and I don’t do either.
But that’s okay, because I’ve got help, and it comes in the form of a script, a stage, and a director. I know I’ve sung the praises of acting many times before, but there’s always more to be said for it.
For instance, how does an introvert, melancholic, out-and-out sociopath somehow find meaning in singing, dancing, and enunciating her heart out on stage? I’m not sure there’s a number high enough for all the anxieties I have, and still having a teenage mindset doesn’t help that along.
So riddle me this: why do I not have stage fright? ME? The girl embarrassed to order food at a restaurant, the girl who will go out of her way to find the stores with self-checkouts? I’ve invented certain anxieties, so why is this most basic one foreign to me? I remember the first show I ever did, it was Much Ado about Nothing, and Beatrice, the lead, was played by a girl I had come to respect and fully admire for her confidence and talent. Yet on opening day, she was expressing fear. I couldn’t believe it. In my mind this girl could have slayed dragons, but she was experiening pre-show jitters? And I wasn’t, even for my first show? I kinda thought there was something wrong with me, but several shows later I realized that the key is knowing exactly what you’re doing. If you go over your lines and blocking til you could do the show backwards, you’ve got absolutely nothing to be afraid of.
But no, because still, I continue to meet people who could slay dragons, and who know the show better than I do, who still have stage fright. I’m still trying to figure it out. I’ve always had a pretty retentive memory; if I get something solid in my brain, it will literally never leave. Maybe no one else has that confidence that they won’t blank in the moment? But mine can’t be the only good memory, so why have I never, and I mean never, experienced anything besides pure delight and confidence on stage, even though in terms of talent I’m only subpar?
It can only be because I experience anxiety so often that I don’t even notice it while on stage.
None of this is to brag or say I’m special, of course. It’s just a mystery of life I’m trying to work out for myself through writing.