You know the scene: the family is going on holiday and here we are at the front door. Excitement is in the air and people are rushing about finding last minute things to do. A final check on doors and windows. Passport and tickets check. There’s the one who wants to get going and is already outside the door and there is that other person more cautious, perhaps tense, and not likely to leave for another ten minutes. The tension between them is fraught.
Now be at the front door of someone used to travelling every week. They effortlessly prepared the night before. They have no fear of forgetting anything and carry no anxiety. Like a well-oiled machine they know what they have to do and on they go without any panic.
It’s a real life-skill to be ready. When I teach at drama schools, I usually start with a warmup game that gets people on their toes and forces them to be ready. It’s surprising how many people think they are ready but aren’t. Some are too tense and jerky while others are too laid back and aren’t with it until you bring it to their attention. Getting a group of people to be wide awake and responding to each other can be hard work. This can be as simple as a whole group playing a game of keepy uppy with their hands and a balloon or plastic football. Once you reach 70 or 80 it gets quite interesting.
You can see why readiness is important in the theatre. There you are waiting in the wings with all sorts of things rushing through your head like, “Why did I agree to do this in the first place?” Readiness means pushing all that away and focusing on the job in hand. We always fear the unknown that is coming towards us but once we step on the stage we are in the here and now with no space for worries so they disappear. But your sense of readiness needs to stay with you. Suppose the person with you forgets their lines or drops something or cuts out a page. You can’t plan for these things, but you can be ready when they happen – if you are awake.
What a life skill – being ready for anything. Being able to handle a stressful situation and deal with it gives you a thrill. You feel stronger for it. Once you’ve mastered that, you find a confidence in yourself that will last a long time.
Theatretrain has awesome classes in dancing, acting and singing at over 70 stage schools across the UK. With almost 30 years of experience training young people in the performing arts, the tuition is 2nd to none. If you would like to receive further information, then visit www.theatretrain.co.uk and pop your location in to see your child soar!