The best time to eliminate fear is to do it during the rehearsal period. At rehearsal, you have a friendly and sympathetic audience before which you can face your fears. Take advantage!
Look at these following areas:
- Is your material learned? By learned I mean your text, your music, your technique, your blocking, your acting choices. Can you recite the text of a piece in a foreign language without any musical cues while a jackhammer and the Star-Spangled Banner are sounding in the background? If not, then you are setting up a scary situation. Do you know what your character wants from the other characters? If not…
- Did you explore your acting limits? If you cannot really challenge yourself and your interpretation of a character in front of your fellow performers, then what chance do you have in front of a paying audience? By exploring the limits of your character, you also know how far you can go with the character and still have it work. Make big choices in rehearsals, and whittle it down to what you use in performance.
- Sing with your brains. You must learn to mark with your voice to avoid exhausting your voice during the rehearsals. It’s very scary to perform knowing that your instrument is exhausted. Make your priorities about when it’s good to sing full out and when to back off. At first, marking will feel strange, but it is usually ok with the director and the conductor if you back off a bit.
These are only three areas, but they are big. I reiterate: take advantage of your co-workers by challenging your fear with them around. Make big brave choices. It makes you stronger, and it builds trust between you, your cast-mates and director. All good things!