Tag Archives: performance
I wanted to document this feeling while I was having it. I’m experiencing an acute case of nerves tonight.
Even though it’s a friendly set of people in a very cosy pub and there’s absolutely no pressure to succeed or do anything other than have fun, I have a huge churning sensation in my stomach, something somewhere between my guts and my head is saying, ‘get into bed, put a film on, eat chocolate’ rather than ‘step into a fairly unknown situation all by yourself’.
I know it is me that is creating this feeling which is an odd sensation, perhaps I can just turn it off. I have felt it many times before, every time I play in fact, and in the past I have acted upon it and backed down, found an excuse. I feel good that I go through with these things now, riding through the rising ache of panic and shaky nerves.
Another thing is I don’t think you’re supposed to mention it. How sensible is it to share this? Many performers may see it as a secret they don’t want let out, a sign of weakness perhaps. Meh, I wanted to, I thought it might help to make it subside…not overly successful there! And I thought it was a fascinating subject to share.
A couple of weeks ago I was having a conversation about the difficulty in explaining to people the mixture of egotism and shyness that many performers share. It’s a weird one because people don’t expect you to change like that and yet many of those who sing or act find it a challenge to relax or be confident in much more common social settings and to some degree I’m one of them. And people perceive you as constantly overflowing with confidence if you stand on a stage. I can kind of understand this but if you take the performing as a job, it’s no different from being in an office or fixing someone’s plumbing. You’ve spent time honing the public face that provides a service or is ‘up’ during working hours and then come closing/home/end-of-gig time, you can let go, you can be ‘yourself’ again. I also understand that ‘yourself’ is a harder one to define for performers as they put part of themselves into the performance.
Another interesting one is that I feel like I’m singing about the subject more when it’s someone else’s song, therefore I can sometimes feel the song more than my own. The challenge is to make what I’m singing sound like I mean it every time.
The nervousness comes in waves. The worst thing is days like today when I haven’t had an almighty amount of things to do so I’ve been waiting for this evening all day.
The ‘after’ is different every night. I’ll let you know what tonight’s after is like…after!