I, without fail, begin every rehearsal process certain that I’ll be exposed to all as the official worst actor in the world who has no business in the the theatre. It doesn’t matter if I have have a leading role or if I have a grand total of two lines and ten set changes. I always think that it’s just a matter of time before the jig is up. I’ve spoken about this with enough actors and directors to know it’s not an uncommon fear. Ever since I learned I wasn’t alone, I’ve felt much better about it.
I got this idea from Seth Godin’s Check-in, Chicken post. Seth advocates that every morning you… “Have each member of the team announce what they’re afraid of. Two kinds of afraid, actually. Things that might fail and things that might work.”
Seth is speaking in a business context but I don’t see any reason this wouldn’t work in the theatre. Start every rehearsal the same way. Go around the room and check in with everyone about their fears. “I’m not afraid of anything” is not an acceptable answer. If you don’t want to share your fear, then your answer is either “I’m afraid to share my fear,” or just make something up. This is the theatre; be creative!
So, what are you afraid of?
- Getting lost in the middle of your monologue?
- Missing that critically-timed entrance?
- Falling flat on your face during the dance number?
- Singing that last note so flat that it wouldn’t even register on an official flatness meter?
- Catching the cast cold?
Chances are you’re not alone.