It’s just one of those things, when you instinctively know something as an actor, but can’t define it, because, well, you don’t have any formal acting education, and well, the art form hasn’t evolved your country to the point of defining it.
When David started our first acting workshop, it was just a bunch of exercises and games, or so I thought. He would throw in these pearls of wisdom, like “stress is the enemy of an actor”, or ask something basic, like “what’s your intention in this scene?”. It raised questions. Important questions. Not just as an actor, but a human being. As he tried to gel us together as a group, as a single organism performing on stage, there was a problem I encountered one day, an “obstacle”.
The voice in my head kept narrating everything I was seeing and experiencing. This obsessive urge to define everything, amplified that voice, and I ended up getting “out of the moment”. The consequence of which was losing some interesting stimuli during our exercise. Then I caught it. I found myself observing the voice from a short distance. The entire process of stimulus-perception-sensation-reaction kind of slowed down, and the volume of the narrative began to decrease. It became meaningless. It was as if my consciousness got “awakened” and I could choose to engage with my senses, without thinking.
It was then that the intended purpose of the exercise became clear. My ability to react with the other cast members, as well as the environment, was suddenly available. I wasn’t thinking. I was in the present moment. It was as if I had chosen the present moment, and everything in it. All that remained was the task at hand. The current intention. Proving what David taught us, “That acting is doing”.
– Mohammad Atif Siddique