It is strange. I am am experienced performer, I relatively rarely get nerves, and yet last night I discovered something that does make me jumpy: Performing- in my own (or near to my own) voice, without a script or paper to work from.
I was practising intros for my standup show, trying to work out, why I am never that happy with how i frame pieces, a process one must get right with one performs the kind of material I do..
The piece I was doing was called -A Vindication of the Rights of Performance Philosophy, and took the form of a handbook to help one live beyond of the Death of God. It includes two or three of my more cherished maxims - about identity, freedom and redemption: All of which are difficult ideas to critique(which I kind of was) as they are so much a part of an individuals mental landscape, particularly to a poetry audience at the end of the night (after 10:30).
And yet it does feel good, as it is make me, in my introductions to take Standup Thought in new directions. It is allowing me, however scary, to make it clear to others how much of what I perform is my own voice (and how how belong to the thinkers I perform). This is absolutely necessary, and without this demarcation I know I am simply not doing justice to philosophy (or my own scholarship). i have therefore a duty make it work, and was pleased by the performance - given the difficulty of the hour, and the piece, I think it could not have been different.
But I will not give up, and next time will be better still, and there will be a next time very soon.... I just wish did not find it quite so terrifying!