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Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Terror of the Black Box

Fear in an interesting thing. We all have our own fears, whether it's spiders, lightning, heights, that creaky floor board on the inside of the dark barn in your backyard. There's always something, even if we consider ourselves to be the bravest person in existence, something will inevitably scare us.

What's exceptionally interesting about this is that, at the moment, what's scaring me the most is what generally sooths me. Theater.

I'm presenting a monologue in my theater class tomorrow morning. It's the longest one in the history of monologues, at four and a half pages long and a thirteen to fourteen minute performance time, depending on the delivery of the actor. It's an amazing piece, a very simple story of two friends about to be split up, but it's powerful. It's a story that needs to be told, in it's entirety, leading me and the director to the somewhat scary decision of not cutting any of it. Meaning I've just had to memorize four and a half straight pages of dialogue.

It's not...well, I shouldn't say that. The memorization did scare me, I'm not going to lie, it terrified me when it was first given to me. Today I had a near nervous breakdown just trying to learn my lines, because not only do I have to perform it tomorrow, I have to perform it first. Luck of the draw decides who goes when, and luck clearly wasn't with me yesterday when I drew my card. It probably didn't want to be with me, it gets a bit boring watching me learn lines, I'd imagine, all I really do is sit there and repeat the same sentence over and over again. It probably lost interest and left.

What really scares me though, what completely and utterly frightens me is the story. It's not a scary story, it's just such an important story that it needs to be told right. I need to do this story justice, it feels like I'd be letting the character down or something if I don't. What if I got so fixated on trying to learn it, trying to memorize it down to the last word, that I completely forgot the point of it. What if I get nervous? What if I freeze up? What if I do end up suffering that nervous breakdown before tomorrow and it never gets told to begin with.

The story of the monologue stays silent till someone who can actually handle it can tell it.

I'm so scared right now, of walking into that black box tomorrow. I'm terrified of forgetting, terrified of blanking out, terrified of not getting to the end. It's that fear you get right before you go onstage, that little nagging fear in the back of your mind as you're standing in the curtains, but magnified.

I've been rehearsing this for a week now. Every night. I'm about to do it again. I'm just...I'm scared. I'm so scared of this monologue, but I know I have to overcome it. I can't go onstage in a panic. The character's not in a panic. I can't be scared.

But I am.



Anonymous said...

How'd it go? See you soon!

Poor Ophelia said...

You're amazing. You'll be perfectly fine.
Don't let me hear that you psyched yourself out and Titaniced it on stage.
And do write me soon and tell me how it went and just because I love our back-and-forth letters.

Nelly The Pretender said...

Luckily, it went ok. I didn't forget any of it, at least. I have NO idea if I actually performed it well, since they were only allowed to write their reviews down and I haven't gotten them yet...but hopefully, I did alright :D I hope...