Stage Fright....Eeek!!...I suppose every actor deals with stage fright at some point. Whether it's opening night of a big important show or just getting nervous for an audition, stage fright is no fun!! I get Stage Fright the most when I know a cute boy I like is going to be watching me!!
For the most part, I've been able to keep it together every time I experienced those crazy nerves sneaking up on me, but Opening Night in Portland, I found out about a whole new kind of Stage Fright! This kind of Stage Fright had me scared for my life!!
In the show
, one of my first scenes is in "the attic." The attic is at the very tippy top of a big set of a house that gets disassembled and reassembled at every new venue. I can remember a friend back in Denver asking me, "Ya know I was thinking about you way up and high and wondering if you ever get scared you might fall--
"Shut up shut up shut up!!! Lallalalala! I'm not listening....." Maybe it was rude for me to interrupt my friend like that, but that attic is pretty tiny and the truth is there is only one little piece of rope separating me from one misstep to landing fast and hard into the living room! And it's a long way down!!! The couple times I did think about it I started to feel a bit dizzy, so way back in Denver I decided to put the rope and the edge and the altitude of the attic completely out of my head, and I've been pretty dang successful....until opening night in Portland.
Half way through my little monologue in the attic, the room suddenly shifted and swayed and I felt I might lose my balance. Suddenly, I was reminded of how high up I was. I started to feel dizzy and I think my life may have flashed before my eyes. "I don't want to die!! I have so much to live for!!!"
That little rope definitely wasn't sturdy enough, so I grabbed the edge of the bed.
And the show must go on, so I continued with the scene and tried to keep my fearful thoughts from showing on my face...It must have worked for the scene because my scene partner said after the incident, "Whoa, did you feel the room shift!?!....I was so impressed....you didn't even stop talking!,...but then I did see you grab on to the edge of the bed and it looked like you were holding on pretty tight!!
Apparently, I had no reason to worry. The stage managers assured me that since it was the first day they had assembled the set, it was just settling a bit and that every thing is completely secure from top to bottom. The pieces of the set are actually hanging from the ceiling so there's no way the house would collapse underneath me. Phew!! That was good to know,...but the little incident did cause me a little vertigo in the attic scene for the following couple shows or so....Eeeeek!!!
When you have Stage Fright like that it sure puts other stage fright incidents into a little perspective. Being scared of messing up a line or entrance is nothing compared to being scared you'll fall off the stage and fall to your death!!!