At her audition, a young woman walked on stage and prepared herself to sing, but when she opened her mouth there was no sound.
This story sounds like a nightmare, but for Elma Linz Kanefield it was very real and life changing. She wanted to understand how and why this “stage fright” happens and what makes some performers succeed while others struggle.
Elma’s trauma inspired her to become one of the world’s only specialists in the psychology of the performing artist. This September, she will share how she empowers performers and restores their mental health in her new book Hamlet’s Mirror: Reaching Your Performance Potential Onstage and Off (September 2022, Original Trade Paperback, $15.99).
Elma defines Performance Potential as “being the best you can be and doing the best you can do based on what you know in the moment of performance.” This is an internal state when you are emotionally and mentally able to balance the challenges, fears, and insecurities that can come with entertaining others.
In Hamlet’s Mirror, Elma explores the performer’s culture: its challenges, the highs and the lows. Then she delves into the four performing personality profiles she identified in her work:
- Problem-Ridden Performer
- Pugnacious Performer
- Promising Performer
- Potential-Realized Performer
Each section of the book is accompanied by fictionalized anecdotes of real performers who worked with Elma throughout four decades of having a New York City psychotherapy practice exclusive to performing artists. Also included are questions and reflections for readers who will have an opportunity to identify what kind of performer they are. Finally, Elma reveals how to reach your performance potential and adds examples to support her points.
Hamlet’s Mirror is for anyone considering a life in the performing arts from young people preparing to enter the “real world” of professional artists to seasoned performers who feel they are not realizing their performance potential.
by Elma Linz Kanefield, LCSW with Dianne Conjeaud
Publication Date: Sep 15, 2022
Paperback ISBN: 979-8-9862605-0-1
Page count: 212