I recently began working on my next show. Thanks to the Prom, I had missed 3 rehearsals and was meeting the cast for the first time.
Meeting new people always gives me a little anxiety. But I knew the director and it was nice to just kind of chat with him a bit. He quickly went over the blocking that I was given. After about 10 minutes of that, we began running the show, with scripts.
My first entrance felt way clunky and jarring. I don’t want to sound like a jerk, but I can read things and sound totally casual, like I was making it up. This particular moment though, I felt so out of step with myself. I noticed that the other actors were really getting into their characters with motion and great choices. I, on the other hand, kept checking for the markers for the entry points of the set before I walked out.
About the third exit, I had to take a deep breath. “Relax. This is your first rehearsal. These people have been working on this for almost two weeks. You just have to catch up.” I said to myself. Once I realized that it was okay for me to be a little clunky, I was able to shake out whatever was making me feel awkward and by the time I had to improv a tango, the folks were giggling at my little dance.
The point is, most of the time, you have to get out of your own way. The only way to do it though is to be aware of yourself and ask logical questions about such and such. You can’t just sit there and say, “why am I sucking?” Ask smarter questions like “What is making me misread this particular script?” the answer; anxiety. “Why am I anxious about being here?” answer; meeting new people. So I smiled at my fellow actors and when we had down time, I went over and asked what they did the previous two weeks. Problem solved. I didn’t get the chance to bond with the cast at the beginning when original introductions were made, so that added to my own silly neurosis.
Even after all the shows this year, I still have a problem meeting new people. I guess it’s a process, but I feel like I am getting better at it. But it is such slow going.
Do you get anxious over meeting new people? Or is it something completely different? What do you do to get through it?
Thanks for reading!!
Until next time…