I've often had dreams that I was back in high school, doing my school play again, and the nightmare part is, "But I don't remember my lines any more!" It's perhaps the thing we fear most ABOUT public speaking or getting on stage.
What if the fear isn't actually a fear of BEING on stage, but of forgetting your lines, which is really just symbolic for the fear of not knowing what you're doing, looking foolish, or feeling lost? What if that fear on stage really is just a mirror for the fear we have of that in life?
And what if conquering that fear ~ or even better ~ living through it, on stage could be a way to transform those very core fears in our life? What's so cool about being on stage is that every moment is amplified through our adrenaline.
I experience being on stage as a sort of trance ~ sometimes I don't even quite remember what happened after I get off stage other than feeling "high" and having a vague sense that it went pretty good, really well, or completely amazing. In front of an audience, our senses are heightened, time is distorted, our thoughts slow down or speed up, our hearts can burst open, colors are more vivid.
If we've prepared well, by a) rehearsing so we know our lines inside and out and b) by warming up the instrument of our body, the ritual of theatre allows us to become more able to enter that ecstatic trance-like state where "I" becomes less relevant than "we". Something flows through us. The whole Web That Has No Weaver kind of experience of merging and connection with all that is and all that stuff we long for the rest of our lives. Flow state. You can get here with sex, too, but that's another can of worms.
In this trance state, you may realize fear is an illusion, as is most everything else. Spend more time here and you'll get a more of a sense of Who You Really Are.
I had started writing this to share about how to handle forgetting your lines, which is something that can bump you out of the trance. And in fact, working up a lot of fear that you'll forget your lines is more likely to bump you out than actually forgetting your lines, which can even bump you back into it, if you play your cards right. Read 5 Tricks to Save Face When You Forget Your Lines here.