It’s the day after the night before and I survived the play reading. It went better than expected. People laughed. Which is good when the play is a comedy… Even if it’s a dark comedy. The actors did a great job reading all of the excerpts!
But it still felt weird. I sat in the back row while Deb and Tara sat in the front with some of our friends. I should have felt comfortable. Friends came to support the reading. To support me.
But I can’t relax in those situations. I don’t know why I get anxious. It’s just an excerpt from a draft. It’s not supposed to be perfect.
Fortunately, my excerpt was read first, so I could experience my anxiety and then relax and enjoy listening to excerpts of my fellow playwrights. Were they going through the same angst? I don’t know, but if they were, they hid it well.
I’m not sure why I get so anxious. I know that I can’t please everyone and I don’t try to. But I still find myself worrying about how people will react.
I think it’s because my plays are all over the place. And they don’t always appeal to the same audiences. Many people that liked my play Minced weren’t fans of Mommy’s Mask. And fans of Mommy’s Mask might not have liked The Lost Years. Is that why I worry? Could be… I’m afraid that someone might have discovered something I wrote and come to my new play thinking it might be more of the same. But it’s not.
And when the reading is over, you have to talk to people! I usually feel uncomfortable doing that because I’m still weirded out by the reading.
Last night, though, I made an effort to accept compliments and enjoy the conversations I had with people. And I made an effort to get out of my head and focus on the people I was talking to.
Worrying about people’s reactions isn’t productive. I have no control over how they’re going to react. If I could just switch that worry about their reactions into “curiousity” about their reactions.
Be curious, not anxious. Okay. I think I solved this.
Until the next time I have a reading…
(By the way, special thanks to Luke Brown and Theatre Aquarius for supporting the Playwrights Unit throughout the year and providing wonderful actors to read our play excerpts!)
© 2019 Peter Gruner