I remember dropping a glass on stage during a production. I remember feeling the condensation on the outside of the glass slowly undermine my grip of the glass. As it was slipping from my finger; externally I was presence delivering lines and listening for ques, internally however I was developing a process to navigate the glass which was about to break at my feet and the feet of fellow cast members. I was contemplating a strategy for how to clean up the glass which included going off stage and getting a dust pan between my lines. I was even deciding on how to incorporate the obviously broken glass on the floor into the scene should I have to or need to. These thoughts were ordered and calm.
I am not suggesting that time slowed down in fact some research I discovered theorised that it is only our memory of an event that tricks us into thinking that time slowed down. The reference to time slowing down is usually when people in a state of danger. While on stage performing a task, I am not in danger, although a stage fight could replicate a sense of danger, thus tricking the brain. What I am inferring here is that I was making some informed decisions under pressure. I had enough experiential training through years of being on stage to be calm under pressure and respond accordingly.
I relish developing training methodologies that allow for a system that builds a mind and body approach and response to problem solving and multi-tasking should an accident arise. Like any form of conditioning training it would behove an actor to maintain a mindset that advocates for the understanding that an accident will eventually happen. That way when it does they are not thrown. This mental preparation in the training process is paramount in the development of a healthy approach to a physical disciplined response. The key to making this an affective system lies in the development of sensitivity and listening skills on a macro and micro level. On a level that involves a mental, aural, visual and tactile sensitivity to one’s immediate surroundings.
The main principle of my approach is prioritising how to deal with; and respond accordingly to an issue or accident that arises. A way into this approach is to start looking for a range of variables within a spectrum of scenarios that an actor may find themselves in. By seeking the order in this spectrum of perceived chaos, one can start to reduce stress levels because a series of responses can be programmed in the conditioning training level.
To be continued…