Playfright By Emma Cooney

To me, the playwriting unit is an anxiety fueling yet fun couple of weeks. It is enjoyable because we get to learn about and read a variety of plays. Plus, I love bonding and spending time with fellow creative writers even if it is because we are stuck together for up to six hours after school in a dark theater. The pressure of having to memorize lines and act made it hard to relax. Being that acting is so unfamiliar to most of the creative writers, including me, we were not confident in our performances. Personally, I wanted to be able to fulfill the playwrights vision, even if I was lacking in skill and practice for acting. Even if I was unable to properly perform the playwrights characters, I felt that the show was more fun because of the acting. 


Besides the acting, there was also the stage fright aspect of the unit. Having to go up in front of one hundred plus people is scary enough, let alone having to keep calm enough that you remember your lines and delivery. When I go on stage, even if there are only a couple people in the theater, I panic and my brain goes blank. Even with my lines memorized, right when I walk onto the black platform, I forgot everything. The feeling of having a bright spot light shone on you and technical theater kids watching you causes a reaction unlike any other: total and utter failure of the mind. Thankfully, after rehearsing all week and practicing so my lines became muscle memory, going on stage became easier. 


When the show came, backstage, I was so nervous I fell totally silent and felt sick. Luckily, I was in the first act so I was able to get going on stage out of the way earlier and relax for the rest of the show (for the most part; I was still nervous about how the other plays would go). After the relief of getting off stage and knowing the anxiety from the week and being on stage was over, I was overwhelmed with endorphins. Done with all my parts, I got to silently celebrate with other creative writers as they walked off stage. It is an incredible experience getting excited and celebrating with the other people backstage; the community is strengthened by these experiences. To me, the stress and anxiety of the week was worth it because we were able to have an amazing show and make fun memories. 


Emma Cooney, Class of 2021



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