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Student Blog: How to Get Over Your Inferiority Complex in the Rehearsal Space


It's easy to feel insecure among your fellow actors, but it's possible to move past that!

Student Blog: How to Get Over Your Inferiority Complex in the Rehearsal Space As actors, we're always fighting the urge to compare ourselves to our fellow performers, whether we mean to or not. It's just instinctive- all human beings naturally compare themselves to others because that's what society has always driven us to do.

An actor's first rehearsal for a show is the time where the comparative thoughts manifest themselves just as much as they do in a callback or audition room, because we're looking around at our fellow cast members and thinking, "Wow, I'm nowhere near as good as this person and that one," or "I don't know why I'm here. Everyone fits their role so perfectly and I'm still struggling."

This thought process, unfortunately, is not so much an example of humility as much as it is a drawback in the rehearsal space. An inferiority complex in rehearsal stops an actor from exploring what they truly can do with their character and bars an actor from bonding with the rest of their cast. So even though the importance of humility in the rehearsal room is vital, the importance of confidence in the rehearsal room isn't nearly as emphasized as it should be.

You're probably thinking: great! This is true! But what can we do to get over this?

Simplify the situation. Using the simplest of sentences, describe the situation. You were cast in a show. The director cast you. You're an actor. The director cast other actors as well. You all auditioned. Therefore, you are the equal of every other actor in this room. Period.

Laugh! Before you go inside, take a second just to let yourself laugh. Whether it's shaking out your limbs, recalling a funny moment, or saying the most ridiculous thoughts that come to mind, let yourself just laugh it out. Laughter truly does ease some of the tension, and everyone else in the room will sense your positive energy, which will improve the overall energy among everyone in the room.

Talk to your castmates beforehand. Whether they're people you've known forever or people you've hardly met, it's always worth talking to them before the first rehearsal (preferably in person, but a text works too). A simple "Congratulations! I'm excited to work with you!" can go a long way, and melting down the barriers of unfamiliarity is an essential task when you're part of an ensemble. Cohesiveness is key to believable ensemble acting, and when you only have a certain amount of time to create realistic chemistry onstage, it's best to do anything you can to help that, especially if it eases your reserve.

Make a hype playlist! Compile a playlist of the songs that make you feel excited and/or empowered, and listen to it before you go into the room. Music is another thing that really does have the power to ease tension and create more positive energy. Even if it's just a few songs, try to listen to them on your way over or while you're getting ready to go, and it will help you to fight back against your anxiety and your thoughts of inferiority.

Overall, the most important thing to keep in mind is that comparison is useless. All actors are on even ground, and there's never any reason to compare one person to another because we're all created differently. There's no reason to let these thoughts of inferiority hold us back from performing the best we can- especially in the rehearsal room. The rehearsal process is what contributes the most to the growth of a show, and giving it our all in rehearsal only makes for the best performance.

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From This Author Student Blogger: Meredith Muirhead