The first ever theatre show I performed in – Blind Justice and the Nipple of Mercy – an evocative name and evocative feminist show. It was a small and intimate team of women and we were unknown to the theatre scene in Sydney. We had been rehearsing for weeks, weekends and evenings, the costumes completed, the stage was set, the lights were engineered, we were ready to open. The night before opening I had fear and doubts rising up to engulf my confidence. In a fearful flash in my mind I could see it, the reviewers in the audience and what felt like a thousand judging eyes upon me. In a pivotal scene I had to climb up a ladder and represent a love scene through the sensual sharing of an apple with another actor. I shared my feelings with my friend Alison, ‘I don’t know if I can do this, without it looking just ridiculous’ – ‘Am I a good enough actor, I don’t think I am not as strong as the woman in this story’.
Alison looked surprised then she stared down my rising fears and replied – Joh you have to BE BOLD.
Even to hear these words emboldened me, I realized that the character I was playing (Mercy) was demanding and challenging me to believe as she had to believe in herself. She was courageously and boldly going for what she wanted – Blind Justice, and she was not letting doubt be a barrier. I was being given permission to be commanding, demanding and physically strong. I had to step in to the role of Mercy with unwavering conviction and self belief. The ladder scene came and I reminded myself ‘BE BOLD’ and I stepped into the scene, with a fully embodied confidence which translated to stage presence.
The show was a success, I will never forget the applause, exhilarating and rewarding.
Since then I have stepped out on many stages and fully embodied roles that challenge me to BE BOLD and courageous. My self -belief can still trip me up so when I need to I reach out to my friends, my family and my partner to support me and help me give myself the permission to step out and BE BOLD.
BE BOLD FOR CHANGE – I invite you as I did to let these two words drive you – BE BOLD. What image comes to your mind? Feelings? What role models? Or when in your life have you been bold? Recall what you felt like, allow that feeling to permeate through your being (mind, heart and body) and boldly step deeper into your life!