I Am Terrified!

Comforting fact: The great veteran actress, Judi Dench, admitted once in an interview that she still deals with stage fright.

Okay, so they say to write about what you know.  That's why I'm at the keyboard now.  I know terror.

I know the insane, strangling fear that comes with getting up in front of people to perform.  And you know what?  My most formidable audience is my family and friends.


Can you relate to this?  As an actress/singer I would be more comfortable performing for an anonymous audience of 500 people as part of a show than performing in my parent's living room for my immediate family and my grandma.  (Just ask my mother about last Christmas.)  Why?  In a big theater, the lights are down, I can sort of fish-bubble isolate myself onstage where the lights are shining, and I can pretend that it is just me and the other actors, and I can do my thing in my happy, prepared, introverted way.

But I really care about what my friends and family think of me.

(By the way, as I frantically type this, I am reading it out loud, gasping for breath, trying to expel all of this nervous energy.)

You see, I am in a show right now (A Christmas Carol), and my friend and I have started this sort of trust/bonding ritual where we take turns performing a song for each other that is scary for us to perform.  So the other night, we met up before rehearsal, went out into the hallway, and I faced my deer-in-the-headlights fear in order to sing him "Think of Me", from Phantom of the Opera.  This from a girl who just fully realized, thanks to her new voice teacher, that she is a soprano.  And yes, there is a high C at the end of that song.

Then, on Wednesday, he decided to repay the favor, and we journeyed to the hallway again, where he sang a difficult song for me (how I wish, for the sake of accurate journalism, that I could remember the name of the song).  It was a wonderful, vulnerable, moving performance to which I felt privileged to be a private audience.  However, the buzz got around and I found him outside later, surrounded by a small group of our fellow castmates, performing the song again.  This led to a request for me to sing "Think of Me" for this eager, impromptu group.

Fortunately, I was saved by the bell in the form of a request that we go back inside to rehearse a dance, but I promised to come back more prepared to our Friday rehearsal, ready to sing for them.

So why am I typing this frantic post?  It's Friday.


I have shifted my plan to singing "Defying Gravity" from Wicked, a song sung by the character Elphaba, who is powerfully embracing her undeserved reputation as the Wicked Witch of the West.  A song that lies about 2 inches away from the center of my heart.  Elphaba and Wicked are literally a dream role and a dream show for me.

One of my favorite quotes from my seventh grade English class was this:  "All growth is the result of risk-taking."

And I feel so silly and childish admitting all of this to you all, but the thing is, it is terrifying to vulnerably thrust your heart out there like a shotput in front of an audience of your friends-slash-fellow-actors.  Maybe this is the test that comes from writing my last post.

So, umm, if you read this post in the next hour or two, can you say a little prayer for me or send me a happy thought (whatever your preference)?  

This is one of my more vulnerable posts, but that's what writing and singing and acting and the arts and relationships in general are about, right?  Courageously sharing your heart in the face of fear in the hope of serving your fellow Earth-walkers?

So, um, if you feel, ah, err, terrified at any point in the near future, please know that you are not alone.


(1 John 4:18)


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