Scenarios That Invade Your Concentration

w When a place or scenario (a memory of a particular event) comes up during

& the Overall exercise, you should acknowledge that it is occurring, but not

™ get involved in pursuing the imagination further into the story. Keep going

< back to the sensations of the skin and the proliferation of the Overall on

„ the skin. The Inner Monologue is an excellent way of acknowledging an invading place or scenario. Use the Inner Monologue to express the frustration and difficulty that you have concentrating on your objective— feeling the sun on your skin. Physical movement such as "shaking it out" or jumping up and down can also help an errant concentration get back on track. If you drop your Overall, shake it out, then begin again. You would go back to the last thing that you were connected to, the last thing that worked before you got distracted by a story or place.

It is imperative to train the concentration to stay with that which you have directed it to do and not allow it to wander through the whole of your subconscious at will. There's nothing wrong with letting the concentration wander around like that if you are just sitting somewhere and musing at the sky, but it is generally a waste of time for an actor, because it is too introspective and self-absorbed. It's not a productive sense memory that one can draw from and use for a character in a professional acting environment. It's just self-indulgent mind play, which has to be done on your free time, not when you are working.

If you find yourself wandering too much during an exercise and cannot keep your concentration focused even though you try, there may be some things that you need to fix. One is, the sense memory choice may be connected to something that is too traumatic for your emotional state and, therefore, useless to you as an actor. You may need to make a different choice or move to a different type of exercise altogether. We must listen to ourselves, and when the system comes under stress, it usually notifies us by taking us far away from the dangerous area, or it keeps bringing us back to the same place over and over again. If the latter occurs, it is because there is something that needs to be discovered in that place and is useful. Often, we will have to compartmentalize such a space and make a note that this place will have to be fully investigated in the future. Set time aside to do this work, but don't allow it to invade an exercise to which you have already directed your concentration. If you allow yourself to wander like that, you will never develop the discipline needed to use sense memory as an actor. ~

Another thing to consider if you find yourself wandering into foreign 2 terrain when doing an exercise is that you may need more time to just o daydream, or you may simply need more sleep. When I first started doing sense memory, I found myself falling asleep over and over again. I would start an exercise, get going, be really relaxed, and the next thing I knew, I'd § be waking up from a deep, deep sleep two hours later, and half of my body ^ was numb from the strange position that I was curled up in. When I told ^ my teacher, Walter Lott, that this was happening, he would say, "Well, g

Catherine, I guess that's just what you need to do right now before you can get to the next step." Great, I thought, what the hell is that supposed to mean? I didn't realize at the time that I was completely exhausted, and given the opportunity to relax and clear my mind, my organism stole those hours to put me to sleep. If you are not rested, you will not be able to work efficiently. Acting requires enormous strength.

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