Each time I step on stage to give a performance, I expose myself to the possibility of great success or great criticism. I make myself vulnerable, putting my abilities as a performer to the test. I ask an audience to take the time to watch me, and hope that for them it is time well spent. Standing in front of an audition panel multiplies the possibility of negative criticism many times over. Not only is this type of audience comparing me to other actors, they often have a narrow-minded view of what they want. To perform well under the stressful conditions of an audition, I must truly believe in myself.
This past year, I went through the college application process. I had decided to apply to theatre schools, which meant that along with the many essays I had to write, I was expected to perform monologues, songs, and dance combinations in formal auditions for the schools. Each school to which I applied accepts twelve to twenty students for their theatre program. Each school to which I applied also had about one-thousand applicants competing for the twenty spots- frightening.
I picked my monologues and songs with great care. I practiced them with great ardor. If you had come into my bedroom at night, you would have found me grumbling out the lines of my pieces in my sleep. I was nervous. So much depended on my auditions. The next four years of my life were at stake. The rest of my life seemed to be at stake!
When the day of my first college audition finally came, I was a basket case. I woke up at six in the morning for a two o’clock audition. I got to the audition location two hours early. When I finally got in to see the panel, my vocal chords felt taut with stress. The pianist began my first song, and I opened my mouth to sing my first line. Let me tell you, it sounded to me as though someone were scratching their nails across a blackboard. Once again, frightening.
After finishing the song, I realized this audition could probably not get any worse. The only place to go was up. The performance I had practiced was “up.” My normal talent level was “up.” So why not pull it together, trust what I had practiced, go “up,” and end with a bang. I did just that, and knew that despite my painful first song, my audition was something to be proud of. My preparation for this audition was something to be proud of. The fact that I had the nerve to show up was something to be proud of. A single song will not ruin anyone. We are all given many chances to succeed, we just have to grab the bull by the horns and go with it.
I believe in myself, and that is what I know will lead to my success.
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