As the writer and director, I find myself feeling more nervous than I usually do when I perform on stage. I’m not worried about my team. The actors are all wonderful. And the crew is top notch and reliable. But I still have a nagging feeling of unease…
Will an audience like this play?
It is a darker play than most of the other ones that I’ve written and had performed, but it does touch on a lot of the same themes of my other works. Even though it won the Playwriting Contest, I don’t know how it will “play” in front of an audience.
Part of me can rationalize that however it goes over with an audience, it will be a learning experience. If an audience hates it, I will have learned something, right? So it wouldn’t be a failure. But let’s face it, it would feel like a failure.
“Failure” is part of the process. Not everything we try will be successful, but we have to keep trying if we want to improve our skills. If we want to get better at our art, we will “fall” down occasionally. We just have to remember to get up after we fall down. And learn from what it was that knocked us down in the first place.
I get it. I understand it. I accept it.
But, man, I hope it succeeds…
However, an audience’s reaction is out of my control. What is in my control is focusing on making the show as good as I can make it. I can also control how I react to negative feedback, if we get that. Hopefully, I will have the grace to be positive if if/when there’s comments I don’t agree with. I can also make notes on what I need to do to improve the play so that it can get better. It is a work in progress.
So, when the butterflies come into the belly or the anxieties start to fester, I have to take a deep breath and focus on what I can control. It’s hard. But it beats freaking out over things that you can’t do anything about.