Sometimes, the stage is a stressful place to be. Everyone is looking at you, and you feel an intense pressure to live up to expectations. You’ve got to be perfect.
But sometimes, the stage can become the opposite. When you know your lines, and you’ve “become your character,” you can forget about yourself. Suddenly, it is no longer you up in front; it is some other person.
As long as you stay in character it doesn’t matter what you do or if you embarrass yourself.
Acting is an opportunity be set aside yourself and your own thoughts, prejudices and fears, to become someone else for a time.
I experienced that yesterday and today as some friends and I put on a (relatively small) production. We played to about 150 people across both days, but I didn’t feel the customary fear. Instead, I relished in the opportunity to become my character, Samuel, and to not care about myself.
The funny thing is, when I’m around people, I tend to act differently. I feel like I have to impress them or show them that I’m worthwhile. Maybe I need to take a cue from when I’m on the stage and forget about myself. Maybe the best way to make friends and have people like me is to stop promoting myself. Maybe it’s really not all about me.