“A lesson is nothing should be considered during a show than the show – or better yet, nothing other than the fullness of the current moment, period. Even “current moment” is too long a phrase to reflect the idea of the time to consider, even “moment” is to long – perhaps a new word: the “mo”. “Stay in the mo.” Or the “m”. Or stay in the considering of the sound of “m”. Oh, but here we go again with considering something. Maybe “stop thinking” is more the idea. Of course on stage the brain is doing all sorts of adjustments based on what just happened, what’s about to happen, audience reaction and so on – but conscious focus must be the “mo”.”
I’ve experienced what he’s describing many times. When you’re onstage, your brain kind of just wanders. And when you’re onstage and giving lines, it wanders even more sometimes. The odd thing is… sometimes it’s that wandering that actually helps me focus on my characters. I imagine that it’s not “jesse’s” mind that is wandering, but rather my “character’s” mind that is doing the wandering. It’s sort of a mantra to help focus in on whatever role I’m playing.
I also adore the notion of “stop thinking.” I’ve written before about the time in grade 1 when I realized that “hey, I’m tired. i want to stop thinking. I want to stop thinking. Wait a minute, I can’t. I CAN’T STOP THINKING.” It was a cross between horror, amazement, amusement, and confusion. Fast forward to a few years ago when I saw “I Heart Huckabees” for the first time. The moment when the two guys are sitting on the park bench, hitting each other in the head with giant red balls so that they could stop thinking — I sat with my jaw wide-open at that moment. It resonated so much.
In that light, when my mind wanders on stage, it is as if Jesse has stopped thinking, and the character has taken over. Now I just need to learn how to make my character’s stop thinking. Or is that not the point?