Stage Fright a.k.a. Performance Anxiety in the Audition

Image_3For many actors, the task of auditioning remains an agonizing experience. Despite good work displayed in classes, workshops and rehearsals and as imagined in one’s own mind, the talent remains hidden.

A host of fears and their manifestations may come to the fore: Nausea, panic, extreme anxiety, physical mannerisms, a sense of helplessness, hostility, a “cool” delivery, tremors, breathlessness, muscle tension, defensiveness, a lack of spontaneity and creativity that has been immobilized.

Performance anxiety cannot always be entirely addressed within the confines of an acting class. Psychotherapy has provided so many highly trained specialists who address the issues of diminished self worth and deeply imbedded conflicts. Hypnosis helps some, but I have seen many transform by dedicating themselves to simple breathing techniques in meditation or through a regular yoga practice.

What I have designed in the Audition Skills class are many practical tools to help you cope with the natural stresses of auditioning, to learn to embrace the energy of your anxiety and to let it fuel the concrete tasks at hand. (After all, what kind of risk taking is not accompanied by anxiety?)

By simulating as many audition situations as possible (cold reading, interviews, tapings with an assistant, reading at the network level), we can examine how you now present yourself and consider new approaches.

Skills to overcome and succeed include:

Learning to breath more effectively to keep oneself centered, refocusing one’s attention on the moment –to- moment intentions instead of idealized results, choosing a very strong objective and opening action, setting realistic goals, and examining your inner dialogue that controls your attitude about auditioning (and often your behavior in the presence of the auditor).

Also, we can reframe our perspective from passive victim to active initiator, experimenting with various visualization, relaxation and mental rehearsal techniques (many gleaned from sports psychologists for peak performance. Caryn was first exposed to this as a 4 year member of the US Alpine Ski team).

We can evict the need for approval from the mysterious and nebulous “them” to the knowable “you”, demystify preparation, give ourselves permission to have fun and keep discovering, and by frequently practicing in these simulated situations.

My class addresses the trials of this most common phenomenon, performance anxiety. And the problems can be tackled and overcome so that you can play in the audition room and succeed! Can CSFA’s Audition Intensive help you?

Have a courageous day!

Caryn West is an acting teaching, director and an audition coach who auditions and acts. She has taught on both coasts and is the only teacher cited on both coasts by Backstage polls as one of the “BEST AUDITION COACHES”. She has run Caryn’s Space for Actors since 1999. Facebook @CarynWestSFA

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Posted in Actor Advice, Auditions
One comment on “Stage Fright a.k.a. Performance Anxiety in the Audition
  1. Caryn West says:

    thank you for the support!

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