“It all happens at once. It has too. The impulse, the breath, the speech, the gesture, the walk, the awareness of the guy in the second row who’s nodding off, so I punch the end of the line that bit harder. And because I punched harder, my partner is surprised and jolted into her response with that extra calorie of spontaneity, which crackles the air, and audience almost imperceptible sits up, drawn in, more alert. It all happens at once. And then it’s gone. It’s the nature of live performance.” (Kemp, 2012:1)
To understand how the actor perceive the world they are in and the world they are going in to, I look at the notion of embodied cognition and even more specifically Margaret Wilson’s notions of cognitions is situated and cognition is time pressured. The theory of embodied cognition moves away from the notion that body and mind are separated and highlights not only how the body and mind are integrated but also how the experience of our body in the world and within an environment shapes the way we think, interpret and reason. It is a theory that help us to broaden our understanding of the actor’s psychophysical processes during training and rehearsal.
As long as I can remember I have been curious about what is happening inside the actor and why some moments on stage are so incredible powerful that the time stops. It probably all started at a young age with an interest of my own developing process as an actor, both in the learning and in the rehearsal. The interest grew during my year at Central. There I got absorbed by the notions of presence. It felt like everyone talked about presence (which was probably not true). No one could really explain for me what presence means but everyone agreed that presence is something good. One lecturer said we shouldn’t use the world because it was absolutely impossible to teach presence. Another said that it was absolutely possible to teach presence. I felt an urge to find out more about that mysterious state of presence and that was where my research took off. It resulted in my dissertation Demystifying Presence- approaching an understanding of presence in actor training. The dissertation became the springboard I needed for further research.
The video demonstrates the MA / MFA course in Actor Training and Coaching at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama where I studied 2013 -2014. “Central stands at the heart of training and research for our great British theater.” (alumni Judi Dench)