Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be on stage in a performance and suddenly your mind goes blank? You can’t remember your lines or your next cue. This feeling is part of what is called stage fright.
Stage fright is common, and is suffered in varying degrees by inexperienced and experienced actors alike. The mere thought of speaking in front of a group, be it small or large, can evoke symptoms of stage fright in some people. The physical symptoms of stage fright include a dry mouth, sweaty palms, a racing heartbeat, nausea, dizziness, rapid speech, vocal changes and memory loss.
Stage fright can be dealt with in a variety of ways. One technique used by actors includes transforming their fear positively – thinking of their fear as their friend – and harnessing the adrenalin that is rushing through their bodies to channel it into their performance. To beat stage fright, actors must stay focused and concentrate on their performance for its duration.
Before a performance, actors may use various breathing exercises to slow down their breathing rate, as well as stretching or yoga exercises to prepare for their performance. This helps to clear the mind and prepare the body for the forthcoming performance. Speaking does takes practice, and a simple technique such as practising in front of a mirror or in front of friends will always help. Being a little on edge can also sharpen the senses and enhance a performance, so actors need to find the balance that works for them. All actors are different, and they will use different techniques to conquer their stage fright.
Diet and lifestyle are also key factors in the quality of a performance. To be the best they can be, actors need a balanced diet, a regular exercise program and adequate rest and relaxation.
If you are a budding actor and find that you suffer some of these symptoms when you are performing, try some of the techniques mentioned to overcome your fears. Visualise the worst thing that could happen. Is it really that bad? Then visualise the best that can happen. Think of a way around every possible obstacle that could stop you from performing at your best. It all takes confidence, so believe in yourself and what you have to offer. You never know, you might find yourself on the big screen one day.