Nicole Ansari’s Film Suffers from Debilitating Stage Fright

In her early years as an actor, film Nicole Ansari suffered from debilitating stage fright — to the point that she almost gave up her career. In order to stay in the spotlight, she turned to meditation, acupuncture and yoga. She created exercises to help her cope with the anxiety, and rituals that allowed her to let go of characters when she was done with them. Note: The Night House Online Subtitrat

While exploring these healing modalities, Ansari tapped into how deeply she had been impacted by her first experiences outside the womb.

“I was a preemie in an incubator for two months without any touch, and that has affected the way I feel and think and act in this world enormously,” the German native said in a recent interview. Note: Fast & Furious 9 (F9) Online Subtitrat

Ansari shares the story of her birth as part of her new multimedia work, “SHE/HER,” onstage at PS21 this weekend. To make the piece, she handpicked seven other female actors, most from the Hudson Valley, the Berkshires and New York City. Over the past months, they’ve been meeting via Zoom to relate their memories, shape monologues and compose music and staging. And last week they were all together in person for the first time during tech rehearsals at Ansari’s home in Hillsdale, which she shares with her husband, Scottish actor Brian Cox, and their two teenage sons.

“The casting of this was completely irrational,” Ansari said with a laugh. “I was thinking first in terms of women that I liked, that I wanted to be around, and second of all, women whose stories and life somehow touch me.”

The ethnically and racially diverse group of performers includes Yibin Li, who grew up in the Gobi Desert under China’s Communist regime, and her daughter, 14-year-old violin prodigy Liza Loube; Turkish native Mellis Aker; Kate Rigg, originally from Canada and Australia, with Asian heritage; and Antoinette Cooper, born in Jamaica and raised in the United States. Michelle Joyner, an actor from California now based in the Berkshires, and Nova Scott-James, a filmmaker from Harlem, are also in the mix. Note: Dune 2021 Online Subtitrat

Ansari herself is the daughter of a German mother and Iranian father. Born in 1969 in Cologne, Germany, she knew by age 5 that she wanted to act, and at 17, clinched a role in the German cop series “Tatort.” Over the next decades, she performed with Neumarkt Theater in Zurich and the Theatre du Soleil in Paris, starred in productions at the Public Theatre in Vienna and eventually made her way to London’s West End and then to Broadway. More recently, she and Cox appeared together in HBO’s “Deadwood,” and Ansari co-produced his film “Blumenthal,” and the thriller “As Good As Dead” with Andie McDowell. Note: Shang-Chi Online Subtitrat in Română

“SHE/HER,” Ansari’s first foray into directing a full-length play, explores themes that are both unique to these eight women and universal for women everywhere—from mother-daughter relationships and the empty nest to finding one’s voice and learning to stop apologizing, as well as more difficult topics, like sexual assault and its aftermath. The creative process, Ansari said, has mirrored the sensitivity and intimacy of the content.

“I wanted to experiment with how it is to create something with a feminine flow, in an organic way, trusting the intuition rather than always having the answers. We cook together, eat together, have a little dance break, take a walk when the flow is not happening. As artists, we have the responsibility to show a new way of living and creating that doesn’t rape and pillage the earth and that gives us an opportunity to come together and heal together.” Note: Jungle Cruise Online Subtitrat in Română

That philosophy is at the core of Actors Rising, a program Ansari—a certified kundalini yoga teacher and yoga therapist—established to support actors, writers and artists to find more peace and joy in their lives and work. The project was catalyzed by the suicides of several fellow actors, and by her own experiences of dealing with stage fright and post-performance blues.

“For people who create, it’s not a choice—it’s something that flows through them and has to come out,” she said. “But the price of that is often isolation that can lead to suicidal tendencies or drug use or alcoholism, because we don’t address the toll it takes on the nervous system. The body can’t distinguish between fake tears and real tears.”

Despite the challenges of the artistic life, acting has given her a solid foundation, Ansari said. In “SHE/HER,” she explores her multifaceted relationship with her chosen career.

“When I had a script in my hand, I would feel secure, because I wasn’t wondering how to act anymore, where the boundaries were, what my lines were,” she reflected. “I had an entrance, an exit, a dialogue partner, I knew what to feel and what to think. That became my anchor for most of my life. In the play, I talk about the script of life, and how we can create our own script and rewrite our story.”

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