Today I had a rough show.
I have a role that is an emotional roller-coaster. Usually I have no problem at all hitting the sadder spectrum of that emotion. Sometimes I don't know what to do with myself on stage when I'm happy, but sad I can do.
Today for some reason I held myself back. The emotion balled itself up in my throat and stayed there, tightening in on my voice and causing a lot of pain in the process. And giving me dry eyes when I'm usually a cascading fountain.
It scared me. A lot.
I don't completely know why I was holding it in instead of letting it out. It confused me at the time...it was a struggle for about half of the play. I hated it. I had a terrible 'inner dialogue' (actor speak for the tape playing inside of your head) telling me that I was a failure. Eventually I found the mute button and focused on relaxing my throat. Then I was better. I felt better, anyway.
In the long run, this was probably a good experience for me. It sure didn't feel like it though.
Afterwards, when I was 'debriefing' about my perception of my performance, one of my fellow actors asked me if I was in physical pain today. I said yes - yesterday in dance (which I shouldn't be doing in the first place with my knee how it is) I slipped and fell, barely twisting my knee but landing hard core on my wrist. My whole arm is sore today. I feel like I've been lifting weights and pulled muscles without all the added bulk and strength, but it's just my lovely connective tissue disorder coming to the forefront again. It was very interesting (and somewhat reassuring) to note that there could be a possible connection between protecting myself physically and protecting myself emotionally.
And I have made progress. I am forgiving myself for being less than ideal out there on stage and moving forward with my life.
It's good to know that I can have a rough performance and still have a pretty good day.