Call me crazy, but I love getting "thrown on" for a role that I wasn't scheduled to perform. I love it when I see a performance and there is an announcement that an understudy or different cast will be performing. To me, that is the time to see true professionalism come forth.
Today, when I arrived at the theatre, my friend came up to me and said, "Just so you know, Jim called out today because he has a fever." "What's Peter doing?" I asked. "Lead Spanish." he said. I quickly did the math and realized that I was the only one available to do the role. I would probably be going on for Trepak. When the Ballet Master came towards the dressing room door I asked, "Why do I have a suspicious feeling in my gut?!?" He said "Yup, you're on-thanks guy!"
And so, on I went for Trepak, and I think it was my best one so far this year. I was happy to get to do it again because my family is here, and I had a chance to outdo the performance they saw yesterday (which I think I succeeded in so doing.) I'm beginning to feel more comfortable with it again.
Here's my philosophy about being thrown on for other people, and I know it may sound silly. I calm myself by thinking, "Hey, I wasn't supposed to do this part today. I'm saving the show! There's no pressure. I'm just going to enjoy this one. So, I do just that! I enjoy it. I pretend to be a kind of hero. In reality, it falls under my job description, but I still like to think I'm saving the show.
I know this may sound ludicrous, but this is honestly how I prepare myself in these situations. Actually, I'm beginning to apply this to my daily performance routine in order that someday, I may find a way to not be nervous at all-regardless of the situation.
It's always a bummer when a coworker is sick, but I'm happy to take opportunities to perform as they arise (especially this year,) and this one went pretty well over all. I'll take all the stage time I can get at this point.
-the names of the dancers that I referenced were changed.