Many years ago I got a call from the Oakland Symphony. They were planning a performance of Stravisky's The Soldier's Tale and needed a voice for the narrator. The caller needed an immediate answer. Simply put, I came to radio because I did not want to face a live audience. That's all. The people from Oakland symphny had heard me on the air and thought the voice would be right for what they wanted... and it would have been, but not for a actor actor who can't open his mouth in front of a live audience. I pleaded with them to understand and with no time to give it second thought, agreeably declined. An unfortunate lost chance. Public Radio would soon not be needing my particular talents, and perhaps some therapy would have cut the stage fright down to what is normal. Very few other opportunities came my way other than the following:

The first was arranged through James McKee's wiring to keep me hidden off stage doing the voice of a worried little animal who lived underground in a tunnel residence he could never believe was safe from predators: Franz Kafkas monologue, The Burrow. On stage, Wieslaw Pogorzelski's string Orchestra played Alban Berg's music. I had performed the work many times on the air and McKee's set-up was just like being in a studio.

The second was another Chris Hardman theatre piece involving overdose. I closely followed Coleridge's visonary words and 'drunk the milk of Paradise.' Then somewhere along the way I voiced lines from Walt Whitman accompanying a musical performance by a composer associated with the Cabrillo Festival in Aptos, CA. During rehearsals I had the rare encouragement and physical support from another artist on the program, Laurie Anderson. It went off rather well.

A lesson learned is that if you have the courage to get up on the stage, the fright often vanishes as instantly as a scizophrenic becomes one person after another, or as an actor becomes somebody else under the footlights. But if it comes off, beware the after effects, there could be a career on the stage.

The Burrow
  Franz Kalka
Kubla Khan
  Samuel Coleridge
Poetry Selections
  Walt Whitman