A theatre artist does exercises both physical and vocal, makes small roleplays for practice, observes world. He keeps learning both theoreticaly and practically. When actor gets a role and he has a script, he reads it, learns it, makes character, does rehearsal, final runthroughs and then comes main day, the day of performance on stage in front of audience. Today We will talk about problems faced by freshers and
amateur theatre actors due to presence of audience in front of them. This topic “Audience exists for an actor not for a character” will be helpful for every actor who has a stage fear, has never acted on stage yet or feels low confidence in front of audience.
Without a doubt, confidence is always important for a good performance on stage, but every actor has his own journey from having low in starting plays to high confidence level after a number of plays. Every actor also has a fear when they step in character on the stage for the first time in front of audience. Many times they perform well, and many times they make mistakes like forgetting lines, blocking or lose their characters. There is no need to feel low or sad if you have made mistakes like this. I have seen professional theatre artists making these mistakes even after years of experience. All you need to understand is that theatre is not that easy art, you will make mistakes but its your job not to repeat your mistakes.
You need to understand that you are learning and mistakes are a part of it. You get to know your strength and weakness, you get to know what you can do best and the things you need to work on. You need to worry about mistakes when you are getting paid for your acting skills. Theatre is all about learning, making mistakes, improving yourself and showing the world that you can come out of your comfort zone and give a show they have never seen before. You need to feed your subconscious mind with positive words and thoughts. You need to learn from your mistakes. You are eligible to make mistakes if you are paying to learn.
Lets talk about what you can do to remove the fear of stage, what an actor does to present a character in front of audience with confidence. I will post a blog on how to create a character, stay in touch for that. Here we will discuss about what a good actor does after completing the character building stage. There is a second stage of preparing a character for stage play or camera acting. First stage is creating the character, second stage is practice and absorbing it into your body, third step is to control your senses to avoid audience, lets talk about what an actor should do to gain confidence as a character and remove fear of audience.
I will tell you the method I have made after years of experience and results I got. I call this method “Stranger Method”. After creating character start talking in the way character speaks to everyone around you or talk to strangers with in your character as they dont know you and they will take you as your character, this is a self booster. I do the same when I am travelling in bus, in metro or anywhere I find strange people. This will be a confidence builder. Though you should be frank enough to talk to your co-actor in character but if the scenerio is different you can try the stanger method.
Second step is to create relationship with your co-actor according to your script. You should call your co-actor by your character name and talk to them as if the relation is real. I applied this method when I was preparing for a character Sushil for a play “Kaash” for Parindey Theatre Group. My co-actors were playing the characters of my landlord, landlady, my mother and a teacher. So I applied this method and started calling my co-actors as uncle, aunty, mummy and master. Within 3 days I started treating them as the relation I had with them as if relation with them was in my subconscious mind. If you do practice these steps I am sure you will find it so easy to coordinate with your co-actors, you will see a better team work and you will give a much better performance on the stage.
These two methods are important for an actor to work on character and face audition, it will make you confident enough to present yourself on stage because till the time you are on stage you have created a relation with feeling for your co-characters.
Now your step is to practice avoiding the audience, start with a small audience be it your teammates and other theatre artists. You should control over your senses and especially your eyes. The major problem actors face is they lose focus and break the fourth wall and make eye contact with the audience. You should play focus games and do focus exercises in theatre. The more you work on your character and create a relation between you and every other actor, the confidence you get will help you remove the fear of audience.
You should understand that when you are on stage you are a character first then an actor and in your story no audience exists. Start having control over your senses, most importantly on your eyes. You should avoid making eye contact with audience as if they don’t exist. And always remember “Audience exists for an actor, not for a character”.