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Pay Attention!

 

What is required of the actor is awareness. Their sight must be tuned to the slightest shift in expression of the one they are opposite; to the colours, shapes and textures that create the atmosphere in which their audience sits or stands. They must hear the subtlest stirring in the theatre space, from the buzzing of the lights to the creaking of pipes; from the pace and depth of the ensembles’ breathes to the shifting of an audience member in their seat. And that shark like sense must also be honed, that can gage the tension of the ensemble and the audience’s bodies. Only when understanding the make-up of the acoustic space can an actor make a sound; only when conscious of the quality of an emptiness can an actor move into it; only when aware of her or his place within the stage pattern can an actor put themselves on display. But more importantly, an actor must analyse the state of their partner before addressing them, must silently ask the audience how they are before speaking to them. Such moments of unspoken conversation can be like – and often give – a rush of adrenalin. But this is not possible if emerged in an interior space. While the actor will have acquired various sensations during rehearsal, these must merge with current reactions from the environment, and come back into it if they are to contribute to the performance. In short, the actor has a choice: to be a vessel for themselves or the space.