I just finished reading You’re Better Than Me: A Memoir by Bonnie McFarlane. It was a funny, vulnerable, gutsy and sincere read.
I think most performers have a moment (or moments) when they are onstage and they think “what the hell am I doing up here? they hate the show. who the hell do I think I am?” I’m sure there’s performers who don’t have those moments- I envy them. Often right before I go onstage, all I can think is, “how did I get myself into this? I wonder if I can give them their money back…” Even if the show has gotten a good review. Even if I’ve done it before and the audience laughed. These thoughts always creep in.
McFarlane articulates this perfectly in her book:
People have always said I have a lot of stage presence, that I have confidence when I’m up there. I don’t know what I’m projecting, but inside, I’m nothing. I’m horrified. I’m terrified. I’m a bag of drowning kittens. But somehow, some way, I just kept talking. I shrugged off their hatred. I smirked at their loathing. My face said I’m high-fiving myself. Then I got off, head held high, and mumbled a couple of “Whatevs” as I walked outside. I made it around the corner of the club before I started sobbing uncontrollably, wondering to myself why I still hadn’t invested in a tube of waterproof mascara (pg 103).