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Anxiety Backstage

What happens Backstage remains Backstage

“NO I CAN NOT!
I JUST CAN NOT!
OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD
I T  I S  S T A R T I N G  !
I CAN’T DO IT

SOMEONE

ANYONE

HELP

! ! !”

I screamed internally not letting a single whisper out. Minutes before the play and I was feeling under-rehearsed and feelings of anxiety were overcoming me.

“Not good, so not good”, I whispered to myself. The director looked at in my direction as if he had heard someone break Rule No.1: not to speak backstage.

Utter darkness had enveloped us so he kind of sniffed and turned his head around, though I might be just imagining all of this as I shouldn’t have been able to see his head at all. It was only the most distinct of sounds and a shadowy outline that I presumed to be the director doing all this. The sudden dread once again returned. It came in waves and each time it came back, it came back much stronger.

“Oh God, Oh God I should do something” These words echoed in my conscious as I was gripped by the fear and I had trouble breathing.

“Wait wait wait. Hold up a second. Breathing? … Yes, YES, Y E S! Breathing! BREATHING! B R E A T H I N G!” I recollected myself as I repeated the sacred word to myself.

“Drama 101,” I thought to myself and almost smirked. I began to recite the sacred spell and began the ritual.

I opened my nostril wide and took in all the air that surrounded me. With the nutrients, I needed came the subtle smell of cigarette smoke still lingering in the corners of the room, the stench of the sweat that all the actors were emitting as well as the fragrant perfumes they had applied to hide this stench but instead had miserably failed. From one corner of the room, I could also smell the odor of garbage as it spread across the room and from the other corner I took in the salivating scent of food that we were supposed to eat in our ‘Feast Scene’. The rest of the smells were too mingled for me to discriminate between them but I could describe them as an oxymoron and one that would suit them would be ‘pretty ugly’.

With my nostrils flaring with the multitude of smells I kept myself composed and counted to 3.

1

The air pushed at my lungs, screaming to get out.

2

The air threw a tantrum at not being able to let out and I felt dizzy.

3

I finally released and got my senses back. A sudden feeling of freshness had overcome me now.

I kept on exhaling slowly while letting my body relax.

I proceeded to repeat this exercise a few times till I had finally relaxed and I could feel my nervousness going back down the deep dark well it had tried to come out from. After completing the exercise I felt more composed than before and the previous waves of anxiety were now replaced by a sudden rush of adrenaline providing me the energy needed to ace this role.

I heard the click of the button and the curtains sweeping open.

I stood tall and proud with only one chain of thoughts constantly repeating in my mind.

I can’t do it but I will do it.

I have to do it.

Because if anyone can.

YOU can
YOU can

YOU can

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