Tuesday, September 28, 2010

a cure for stagefright, or

'paying attention to detail.' that's the conclusion of a book on the subject, both in the preparation - making sure it's thorough - and in the moment of performance.

since we live in an onstage society, this an unrecognized dis-ease, often called shyness. yes, our whole educational system dedicated to drama, as our news broadcasts and sports are.

facing the crowd not a natural situation. after all, ethnic groups of the past very small. you knew everybody. you didn't pass a thousand strangers in the street everyday. i'm listening to a book called cowboy & wills, the story of parents raising a high-performing autistic child. only the arrival of a dog finally allows the boy the make friends and perform in front of the class. his inclination: to take refuge in concrete schedules and literal interpretations of the world. obviously, he's overwhelmed by the input of the modern cacophony.

and the author of the stagecraft book wrote, 'when you feel yourself getting shaky, focus on a narrow circle of objects around you. once you settle a bit, expand that world.' the famous actor lawrence olivier could have used this advice. for six years in his fifties, he experienced a terrifying self-consciousness when walking onstage. arriving suddenly, this unexpected state made him say to himself, 'either i walk off and never act again, or i fight it.' and struggle through the terror he did, until it disappeared of its own accord.

as the end of fire season approaches, you can imagine my own concern. i've had months of quiet and solitude (a slow season) and soon i'll be back in town. my room assumes the place of a mountain-top. i seldom entertain and prefer to go out for my socializing. yes, a certain fear of overload prevails. still, i need people and the stimulation of the city. a counselor once told me i needed to commute, the country for quiet, the urban blast to revive my energy. and damned if that isn't what i've done.

a few new photos taken with my droid x camera-phone: