photo by Jordan Tannerhill
I first performed in front of people in High School. Like a lot of actors and performers I found my community in my later High School years during the musical and got involved more from there. Waterloo Collegiate Institute had a variety evening called High Concept that incorporated music, dance, and drama. I first performed in a scene (think it was Glass Menagerie or Diary of Anne Frank) and then auditioned for Anythink Goes. A bit of performing (I certainly wasn’t acting) at Studio 58 theatre school gave me a small taste of the addiction that would come back to me years later.
In my first collective The Oomph!! Group with Natasha Priest and Sean MacMahon I got to perform at the 2002 Summerworks Festival and loved it. It was an original creation entitled “Exhibit” and was inspired by the letters and writing of Tennessee Williams. Still due not properly training in acting or even performing I never got advice about that overwhelming feeling of nerves and excitment that precedes many performances. I suppose it is always a personal way that each performer deals with this emotion that often feels like it is coarsing through out the entire body. It makes the feet tingle, makes you feel like you have to use the bathroom, sometimes entices nausea. Still some other instinct kicks in just before sometime that propells forward the body and mind to go and just do it. Sometimes these nerves stay with you onstage and carry overhead like a cloud of doubt but often it goes away as things go on.
As I get older I feel even more mystery about where this feeling of nerv
ousness & excitment comes from, how long it stays around and when it is not there if I even care enough about what I am doing. I trust this feeling more then my intellectual assesment of a performance or project, it is my guide in some way.