The second pillar of The Actor’s Way is Being.
I speak of Beingness as a state; a state of Being. A state where 3 things become congruent or harmonised within the Actor: focus, breath (body), story. When we are Being, we ‘disappear’ and time bends. What does this mean, "we 'disappear and time bends"? The Actor on stage, when she has quietened the voices of distraction and resistance (so many hollow distractions), when she focuses on being in her body as opposed to being out of it when she finds herself in the story as opposed to watching herself from outer space, is alive. She is powerfully present. She is moving from one moment to the next. She is not distracted by the proverbial shiny things off to the periphery. She is in flow. In state. Suspended in time, whilst grounded in reality. On stage the audience gravitates towards her. On screen the camera zooms in on her, inexorably.
What does this being state look like? We would be better to ask what it feels like.
It feels like there is no tomorrow or yesterday. There is only now.
It feels like the deficits - of attention or anything else, evaporate. It feels alive for all time and yet all of time is concentrated into this millisecond now. This now is saturated with every sensation without over-powering the Actor, rather the Actor rides the crest of the moment, exquisitely perched. Balanced. Centred. Open. Expressive. Poised. There is intention without force and openness without want of return (or applause). There is flow. And there is choice. In the Actor that is being the whole millisecond of a moment expands to become many minutes. And if we are skilled enough in our process these minutes can expand into many more minutes ... with practice.
And so we …. we play around inside time, if you will. We expand time, bend it. Instead of being driven, relentlessly, by some bootcamp notion of time, marching to a beat: our own or others, being beaten down by time, being enslaved to the rhythm of digital monotony that unfolds in 60 seconds, then in 60 minutes; instead of being driven by that clock we instead find within, a different clock, a different measure and way of being that frees us from the rules and tools that do not serve the Actor.
In being, as we are being, with our scene partner or reader we are not judging or tripping on a ceaseless internal monologue about how the reader/scene partner is, or is not. Instead we are captured by the possibilities inherent in the moment that allow us to seek what we need. If it is lacking, we move seamlessly to the next moment, seeking connection, there.
In being we are mostly still, yet the moments around us are charged, alive, dynamic and we participate in them without becoming them, unless we so choose. Thus being empowered…
The state of being is not unique to the Actor, but the Actor does and can occupy a state of being in such a way that the spectator becomes ... enthralled, mesmerised, held captive by a sense of something they want, but cannot achieve themselves. There is something holy about being.