Truthfully, I have always known I have a natural flair for acting. Just doing it was the issue. I have this fear of being in the spotlight even though a part of me loves and craves it (hey, I didn’t say I am normal). A classmate of mine however, pointed out that perhaps, I am not afraid of the spotlight but rather, I am too critical of myself and thus expect my audience to be as well. Phew, long sentence! Hope I didn’t lose you there. Anyway, of course he hit the nail on the head. I criticize myself a lot; clearly I’m expecting judgement from others. But so what if people judge me? Why should I care so much? Why should I only criticize myself and forget praises? Pity I only recently started to ask myself these questions but better late than never.
I accepted a role in a play. The director, another classmate of mine, pushed me hard. She wanted volume and drama. Drama wasn’t so hard to give. I’m a recovering drama queen (yes, yes) and I’ve seen enough Nollywood movies to know about dramatic old women so I got there. Volume was the issue. I’m really soft spoken. Like to the point of barely being audible sometimes. This is not a good thing. I was happy to improve there. “Projecting” is the lingo for it in my department. It wasn’t easy to do but I can definitely say I made headway.
I went on stage last week Friday. It was nerve wracking. For at least an hour before I was to perform, I freaked out majorly. Well, enough for the Stage Manager to do breathing exercises with me. When it got to show time, I was dazed. Someone (I seriously don’t remember who) escorted me backstage and I somehow found a way to my seat. Lights were off, the audience was seated and I thought I would faint. I started to say a little prayer and I didn’t get to finish before the lights came on. Action.
I nailed it. At least that’s the feedback I’ve gotten. I’ve had a number of people I don’t know in school, walk up to me in the past week, shake my hand and congratulate me for my performance in Ali Dondo. Yesterday, my Actors’ Workshop lecturer (who is quite THE actor) praised my performance and said he looks forward to seeing me in more lead roles. That was the icing. For me, if he thought I did well, then I did fantabulously great.
I will definitely accept more roles on stage. I’m not afraid anymore. I’m excited to do it again.