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In Valérie Roumanoff’s novel, A little voice in my head (Nami editions), Alice, the heroine, is unable to speak in public to defend her work in front of her superiors. She is internally enraged to leave the spotlight to her colleague Charles, who does not hesitate to show off. Who hasn’t already found themselves in this situation, firmly believing the little voice telling them that they are not up to it, that they won’t make it? “The person who hypnotizes us best is ourselves,” laughs Valérie Roumanoff, hypnotherapist and author. Not only do we listen all day long to the little voice telling us that we’re not going to make it, but what’s more… we believe it! »

One day, however, Alice’s life takes a turn. This new impetus, it is his colleague Tina who brings him unwittingly: she offers to accompany him to a theater class. Alice has never done it, doesn’t even know if she might like it, but she decides to accept. “In real life, you can also go to a trial lesson without commitment, underlines Valérie Roumanoff, who founded and directed a theater school, the Cours Clément. It’s really important to try, because you have to find the right class, with a teacher who inspires confidence and students who are kind. We must feel welcomed and appreciated as we are, without judgement. »

The theater, to be in the present moment

It seems impressive to go on stage in front of an audience to recite your text, give the answer to a playing partner or downright improvise a skit alone or with others. In reality, when you’re on stage, you don’t have time to think about that at all, explains Valérie Roumanoff: “whether you do it as an amateur or a professional, the theater is unique in that you are obliged to be where we are, doing what we do. It’s essential, because if you start thinking about something else, you immediately lose your footing”.

Theater, vector of personal development? It’s certainly not his primary vocation, but it looks like he’s getting closer to it, since being on stage forces us to live in the present moment and to be fully present in what we’re doing. “You have to disconnect your mind, to stop listening to parasitic thoughts, insists Valérie Roumanoff, who has been on stage for more than 20 years. You can pay attention to it before and after, but not while playing. »

On stage, lower the masks!

According to the therapist, doing theater is also very liberating, because you arrive on stage thinking of hiding behind a role, a character or a text (or even behind all of this at the same time). The fear, the brakes and the barriers that we put on ourselves in everyday life because of the judgment we have of ourselves and the fear of what others have of us are erased behind what we believe to be a mask that hides us. But freed from injunctions and constraints, we finally express ourselves freely. “The fact that we have the impression of being hidden allows us to be very free, underlines Valérie Roumanoff. This is the whole paradox of theatre: by thinking of interpreting a role, it is indeed us who express ourselves. »

The fact that very shy people often make very good actors is therefore not a legend, she points out: “they express on stage what they do not express in life, which they have stored up since they are reserved. In the context of theatre, you can express many things, and the more shy you are, the more things you have to express! “.

Through theatre, exploring one’s potential

Once you have spoken on stage, in front of the other students, the teacher, and sometimes even in front of an audience, does the magic fall? Far from there ! “Once we have dared, it gives us another image of ourselves, assures the former actress. We realize the image that we send back, the appreciation that others have of us. In the novel, Alice receives compliments from the teacher and the other students from the first lesson. She realizes that something happened when she did her improvisation, that it’s beyond her a little, but that it’s not unpleasant…

This is how, as the lessons she quickly becomes hooked on, she gains in self-esteem and self-confidence. Her successes encourage her to stop judging herself and to pay less attention to the little voice in her head, which constantly belittles her: now, she knows deep down that she is capable of daring. Nothing fictional in the transformation of this heroine, assures Valérie Roumanoff: “I saw a lot of shy and reserved students at the start of the year who were like metamorphosed after the end-of-year show. It’s as if they had received something precious and beneficial, they said to themselves ‘I got to the end, I got there, I managed to show myself in front of the others’. It’s not necessarily something you learn elsewhere.

Icing on the cake, we receive applause at the end. And that is not nothing! Who applauds us on a daily basis for dropping off the children on time at school without forgetting the youngest’s sports bag or preparing good balanced dinners for the whole family all week long? “Being applauded is not common, notes the therapist. There, we do something not so complicated as that and everyone applauds you, it’s nice! »

If compliments bother you in everyday life, you will have no trouble accepting the applause at the end of the performance, she assures us: the public applauds the troupe, the play, and a little us , too. “It’s quite natural to receive the applause in a troop. There is a solidarity between the actors, because on stage, we are in the same boat, we support each other. If a person has a hole, we have to help them, otherwise the whole show fails. “Of course, all is not rosy outside, but the time of the show, the grudges are forgotten. Theater is definitely an exciting human adventure.

For further

That little voice in my head
Valerie Roumanoff
Nami editions

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Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is a freelance writer working on news website. He contributes to Our Blog and more. Wise also works in higher ed sustainability and previously in stream restoration. He loves running, trees and hanging out with her family.

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