Getting up there-Stage Confidence and Presence

February 12, 2010

Dedicated to all of my readers in the performing arts, and anyone who needs a little boost in the area of self-confidence! Please enjoy this month’s post from guest writer, Emmanuelle Chaulet.

Emmanuelle Chaulet is an acting coach, a holistic acting practitioner, CRPL3, adjunct faculty at the University of Southern Maine, Fulbright scholar and author of A BALANCING ACT. She is the founder and director of Starlight Acting Institute, which offers individual sessions, workshops and retreats. http://www.starlightacting.org
She can be contacted at: energize@starlightacting.org

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Before an audition or a performance do you think about yourself in a positive light, or do you think that you are not right for the part? Do you doubt yourself, or are you over-confident? Do you think about what THEY want, what THEY will think, what THEY will expect? (THEY, being the casting directors, the audience, the directors, the reviewers…)

Do you focus your energy on everything you need to be and become for THEM? (the look, the body language, the voice, the talk, etc.)
Or do you go up there and give it your best shot without worrying about the outcome?

I used to worry about all of this and was terrified at the immensity of the task at hand. How could I become a perfect fit for all the expectations these people had of me? How could I fulfill their ideas, dreams and anticipations? How could I fulfill the expectations of my teachers, my agents, my parents, my partners, and of myself? Then, of course with so many demands on my shoulders, I would shut down and do a mediocre job.

Others, on the opposite, will be overly confident and over do it, coming off obnoxious or cocky. But arrogance is a form of insecurity too. It is its polar opposite.

So, how do you prepare yourself to come off at ease, relaxed and simply present on stage?

The answer is simple and complex at the same time, and I used to hate it when someone would tell me, “ just be yourself!” What does it mean? I have many selves, don’t you? I am an actress after all, a chameleon… Just being myself did not mean anything to me then, until I finally understood what it meant. It means, “just be present.”

Your presence, the “Who You Are,” or “Who I Am,” is simply revealed when you completely connect with the present moment. It is the feeling that happens when you bypass the chatter in your brain, the questions, “what will they think? What do I look like now? Did this sound good?” It is about letting go of the “I am watching myself,” to simply connect with the “ I AM.” There, that is it. Simple and beautiful, and hard at the same time.

It takes practice and self-control to connect with our “I AM” and quiet the chatter brain. It takes mindfulness, contemplation, stillness, patience and great compassion for ourselves. It takes self-care and self-love. It takes a connection with our source of inspiration and energy. It takes humility and surrender to a force greater than us. It takes a regular exploration of our Highest Creative Self and a let go of our smaller Ego self. It takes practice.

But it is your true way to shine on stage.

It is what will help you shine through your true presence, your true charisma, your true soul. It is what stars are made of.

So next time you “go up there,” try to simply “be there”…

Emmanuelle Chaulet

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