Saying “Bye” to Performance Fears by Starlie Tugade

How many people can say they’ve written a play, or been in an intensive class taught by a playwright from New York? I’m sure there are some people out there, but not the majority of the population. A couple of months ago, I couldn’t either. In Creative Writing, we have a playwriting unit every spring, taught by an artist in residence. As a freshman (or freshpeep as Heather likes to call us), I’m fully immersed in my first playwriting unit, and I can easily say that it is one of the most fun things about Creative Writing, but it is also one of the scariest.

A few weeks ago, Ella, our playwright in residence, assigned us drag performance as a character in the play we were reading. We had a week to choose the song we were lip syncing to and choreograph, before performing in class on Friday. This assignment was somewhat of a wake-up call to me, because before, I had naively assumed that as writers, we would have to perform our own work, but not put on “Performances” with a capital P. However, being an introvert wasn’t enough to deter me from performing, and so I came up with a song and started thinking about different ways to choreograph my performance. I enjoyed coming up with different ways to act out my character alongside the song, and the night before, I put on a performance for my family, in hopes that my stage fright would disappear. That worked for the most part, but in the hours preceding the performance, my nerves were still present. 

One of the things that I love most about Creative Writing is how supportive the environment is, because everyone is ready to support and lift up one another. The nerves I had faded the minute I watched the first performance and felt the energy all the Creative Writers radiated. We were all here to enjoy an afternoon of fun and bravery to make a fool of ourselves in front of each other. When I got up on stage, my nerves were gone, and I performed better than I even imagined I would. Afterwards I was riding on a high, and I’m never going to forget the love that the community gave me as I stepped past my comfort zone.

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