I still remember my first monologue in theatre, in front of all my fellow actors, teachers and audience: it was Lady Ann’s mourning monologue over King Henry’s corpse in Richard III. How did I feel? Terrified would be an euphemism.
Not only I couldn’t remember a word of the play that I had studied for month, but I also felt my body not responding anymore to my brain’s orders, my face blushing miserably and my tongue simply refusing to pronounce any word in English, with the justification that “it is not even my native language…why would I do that?”.
Well, I leant over my poor colleague playing King Henry – dead King Henry- I covered my face with the excuse of performing Lady Ann’s desperation (it was actually Manuela’s desperation) and whispered: “How on earth I got into this?!”. I just wanted to be at home, cuddling on my sofa with a hot cup of tea. I wanted to be with my mum, tasting her delicious spaghetti. I just wanted to be anywhere else but please, not there.
And believe it or not, this still happens every time I go on stage. Yes, you heard me. After 20+ years, same story over and over again. But with practice, now I know how to deal with it. I had amazing teachers who helped me through and now it feels like my personal challenge every time.
Back to my story, I paused. And paused. And paused for longer. Silence. I lifted my head, looked around me, mesmerised by the darkness of the theatre. Luckily a whispering earthy voice woke me up: “COME-ON”. Dead Henry was tired of laying on his back playing the corpse. “PLEASE”.
Ok Henry, ok. Listen to this now:
Set down, set down your honourable load,
If honour may be shrouded in a hearse,
Whilst I awhile obsequiously lament
The untimely fall of virtuous Lancaster.
Poor key-cold figure of a holy king!
And the rest is history! …well, I must confess that it was easier to finish and I got to the end in a state of unconsciousness.
Years later I discovered during my studies that I had accidentally learnt how to tap into the flow and use the stream of consciousness. Let me tell you: it’s pretty cool, and it’s for everybody, it just needs a bit of practice.
Book your Public Speaking session, and have it a go.
Love and light.