The Heart as Center
“Relax! Connect the moments and thoughts! Breathe—you’re not breathing! Will you get centered? You’re not centered! Stop forcing! Don’t hit it over the head!” In rehearsal, audition, and performance, these inner and outer voices clang and echo in the actor’s consciousness. Eventually they become: “Why are they coughing? Am I that horrible? There! Someone coughed, or rustled a program!” Unfortunately, this poisonous rumination occurs while the actor is delivering a soliloquy or monologue or living an intimate moment onstage. “You can’t imagine the orror of knowing you’re acting badly,” muses Nina in Act IV of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull.
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- 5.Psychologists Willis Harman and Howard Rheingold have discerned a similar heart meditation exercise employed in ancient Yoga traditions and the Byzantine Church. See Harman and Rheingold, Higher Creativity: Liberating the Unconscious for Breakthrough Insights (New York: Penguin, 1984).Google Scholar