Saturday, October 4, 2008

Stage Fright

I stand back stage, my head throbbing, dizzy, cold sweats. I've never set foot on stage without feeling a need to go to the bathroom even if I just got back from there which is usually the case. I don't get nauseous but that may be the only symptom of stage fright I'm free of. I get an ache in my bones, a cold panic that feels like a real physical presence behind my eyes. My wrists hurt.

Sometimes, when it's bad enough, my memory shuts off and I do my act in a black out state. I will, afterwards, only be aware of succeeding or failing with the audience but I will have no recall of what I actually said or did onstage. I have to trust that the words that came out of my mouth were those I wrote and rehearsed for this occasion. It is rarely this bad anymore.

I have ulcerative colitis according to the doctors, but it seems to be a hysterical form of the condition as it only flares before performances or other stressful occasions, mostly performances.

If I go onstage at least once a week it stresses me less and less; wait a month and I may as well be going up for the first time.

It doesn't matter the audience. I will stress just as bad before a twenty person crowd at a dive bar as before a 1,000 person audience in a nice theatre. And then once in a while I get no stress in a situation where the patterns of the past tell me I should be a mess. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to these much appreciated and rare bits of relief.

I must REALLY like hearing the laughs and applause to keep going up. I ask myself "Why do you do this?" over and over and the only answer is, "You'll remember why after its done."

4 comments:

s.k.namanny said...

I have the opposite of stage fright. I don't feel much of anything until that sinking feeling of having sucked when it's all over.

pssst said...

Instead of the high before the low, like one gets with heroine or cocaine, it sounds like you have traded the low before the high. You may have stumbled on the magic formula. Congratualtions!

pssst said...

I mean "congratulations." I can't spell when I'm coming down. You know how it is.

pssst said...
This comment has been removed by the author.