Dear American Girl,
I've been cast in a play. The problem is, I get really nervous before I go onstage. I'm even nervous when I'm rehearsing! What can I do about my stage fright?
-Not Just Acting Afraid
Here's your advice:
I know what you mean! Something that helps me is listening to music, talking to parents or friends, and sometimes just playing with my dog. Remember, you were cast for the part because you are right for it, so just try to relax and have fun.
-Larissa, age 11, Colorado
It's OK to be nervous as long as you don't let it ruin your performance. Tell yourself that you will do your best. Don't lie to yourself—really go out and do your best! When you're finished, you can look back at things you could have done better, but also make sure to think of the things you did well and pat yourself on the back for them. After all, you did something that was hard.
-Leah, age 12, Texas
I've been in several plays before and have experienced the same before-acting jitters/butterflies feeling. What I do to get rid of it is take a few deep breaths while I'm getting ready, tell myself that I've worked hard and know my lines, and do something calming such as talking to a friend or singing a song. You just have to have confidence in yourself and then go out there and shine.
-Abigail, age 13, North Carolina
Pretend the people watching the play are just your stuffed animals. Do it for your stuffed tiger!
-Addy, age 9, Kentucky
When you are acting, remember that it's not you who's talking—it's your character. It's as if you yourself aren't onstage and the audience is watching only the character you're playing.
-Emilia Victoria, age 13, New York
Think about this logically. What are you scared of? What horrible things could actually happen to you just for saying lines in front of people?
-Cam, age 11, North Carolina
To take your mind off being scared, think about how happy you felt in your happiest moment.
-Jaylen, age 9, Maryland
Think of this play as a chance to show everybody your talents and the hard work you've been doing. Break a leg!
-Tori, age 12, California
When you're acting, pretend it's just you and your friends onstage with no one watching.
-Brianna, age 10, Utah
Practice lots in front of family, friends, neighbors, or even yourself in a mirror. Knowing your lines should help boost your courage.
-Violet, age 12, New York
I'm a theater kid, too, and I'm in a lot of plays. Stage fright happens to the best of us. Try taking a deep breath, counting to ten, and saying to yourself, "Everything is going to be all right." If you have a speaking or singing part, get into a routine for warming up your voice.
-Emma, age 10, Michigan
Before you start practicing or performing, take a few long, deep breaths and remember why you wanted to be in the play in the first place. A few nerves can be good for a performance because they make you excited and enthusiastic.
-Sarah, age 12, Nebraska
Onstage, forget who you are and pretend that you are the character you are playing.
-Abby, age 12, California
Think about this: The people in the audience aren't looking at you because they think you're weird. They're looking at you because you're an actor in a play, and the action is coming from you!
-Norah, age 11, Utah
I've been in several plays also, and it can be a bit nerve-wracking. My best tip is to get a good night's sleep before each rehearsal and performance.
-An American Girl fan, age 13, Minnesota
I was in a play last year, and I found that I usually couldn't even see any of the people in the audience. Knowing that helped me.
-An American Girl fan, age 12, New York
Encourage yourself. Say, "I can do this, and I don't care what people think—I am here to have fun." If you do make a mistake, no big deal! Just shake it off and move on.
-Hannah, age 13, Virginia
Try singing before you go onstage. That might calm you down. If that doesn't work, add some dance moves.
-Macy, age 9, Oklahoma
Practice a lot in front of the mirror. When you go onstage, imagine that you're still just in front of the mirror.
-Maria, age 13, West Virginia
I've been a ballet dancer since I was four. Nervousness is natural. I still get nervous when I perform, but when I go onstage, I think about how glad the audience is to see me. You can also try imagining that all the audience members' heads are cabbages. I hope this helps you feel better about your performance. Break a leg!
-Kara, age 12, Tennessee