Sunday, July 15, 2007
I made it over a major hurdle Friday night. I had to present my play, SOCIAL SECURITY in front of over 100 people. I do not like to do public speaking! I have panic attacks! Shear terror. I have known about this for over two months, and I was trying so hard to make it go away that I kept pushing it back and pushing it back and pushing it back until I had no choice but DO it. So Friday afternoon about three o’clock, I sat down and wrote out a 5 minute presentation. Yep, I know, I am the President of the Procrastinator’s club.
I had to be on stage about 9:00 so I got there early, (Bob forgot to buy tickets for the banquet, so I skipped the dinner) The room was packed with people, and from where I stood, right inside the doors, I could see into the dining room and everybody was waving their programs in front of their faces to cool off. I sat in a chair right in the door way, where there was a really cool breeze blowing in from out side. When people walked out during the breaks, they were complaining about the heat. I was just fine, but I knew that if I went into that room I would suffocate.
The things that happen to me during a panic attack, is I get really hot, my face flushes, I can’t catch my breath, I stutter, and my heart races! So I just sat there waiting my turn in the cool air.
Finally all the others had done their presentations, and some of them were really great, because they could actually act and sing, and did so! Me, I just walked up to the stage shaking in my shoes, and then I panicked! I could not get ON the stage…There were three steps up and nothing to hold on to. I have no sense of balance, and I knew that if I tried, I would fall flat on my ass. I was going to just stand in front of the podium and read my presentation, when I noticed steps around the back up against the wall! SAVED!! Made it up, and looked out at all the faces, sitting there fanning their hot faces and the panic attack started! I could feel my heart racing, and I could not breathe. My Hands shook, and I almost broke out in tears. I made it through, and got down off the stage and walked back to my chair. WHEW!!
As people started to leave several of them said they could not wait to see it in April of 2008. And several of them are planning on auditioning. They did not have any idea I was as nervous as I was. THANK GOD!
One of the reasons I direct and produce is because I love the stage, and really enjoy knowing how to actually turn it from a written page into a full fledged live production! But I am one of the only Directors that does not EVER go on stage in front of an audience. I do back stage work ONLY!
I have always wanted to be an actor, but I can never get over the fright I get! My ideal role would be Mama Rose in Gypsy! I would give ANYTHING to be able to pull that role off well! But age and gravity and 3 packs a day habit for many years, have ruined that chance.
So I do it vicariously through other people! Maybe other people have the same problem with public speaking, but I tell you, I almost die every time I go in front of people. Even people I know very well. Weird!