RMIT Horizons: How to get comfortable with performing

Credit: Alan Weedon

In the third of our RMIT Horizons series, Ethan Perkins and Georgia-Rose Robinson reminisce about how they overcame their performance anxiety.

RMIT Horizons is a creative writing lab for final year students. Ethan, Georgia-Rose and their Horizon peers are the creative minds behind EWF 2017 event, Double Exposure.

Ethan Perkins

When I first started performing, it was as part of a group of high school student actors who just felt like putting on Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. In the beginning I had some pretty bad performance anxiety. I wasn’t about to drop out of the production though, so I developed a little coping mechanism. In our table read, I played a parody of myself. I exaggerated my expressions and gestures, made a mockery of it all. When time came to commit to the first rehearsal, I gave it everything I had, secure in the knowledge that no matter how badly I messed this up in front of my friends and director, it couldn’t be worse than that first table read.

I guess the moral of this story is… mess up intentionally when it doesn’t matter, so that people don’t expect much from you when it does. Wait a second, that’s a terrible moral! Don’t do that! How about just don’t take yourself too seriously, at least in the beginning? Yeah, that sounds better.

Georgia-Rose Robinson

Same as Ethan, I began life with a semi-crippling fear of performing. Made infinitely more complex by some definite belief in myself, at 21 I still feel alien onstage. Performances of all shapes and sizes are a cruelty of every writing student’s career, but to adapt is to grow! To adapt is also to drink the perfect number of drinks, to feign composed, to look up from your page and not lose your place (on the page or on the stage [ie. do not fall over]). I once saw somebody dislocate their knee on a stage – avoiding that has been my one focus since.

Hear from Ethan, Georgia-Rose and twelve of their peers at Double Exposure, a night of dark confessions, grey areas and white lies, Thursday 15 June at 1000£ Bend.

Double Exposure is presented in conjunction with RMIT University.