I want to talk to you about the most important and most diﬃcult and precise part of the work of an actor. I want to talk to you about the source of where you get your feelings for the action on the stage. You know, and there is no use to repeat, that the main thing and the most important thing and the only vital thing on the stage is action. This is a very broad and wide deﬁnition, but after all, if you will analyze you will ﬁnd that it is exactly as I say. It’s action that counts. Even if you don’t do a thing on the stage, the words themselves show you that you do something. You don’t do. That means that you don’t do a thing, and through denying the action you establish a new action, which is an action by itself. Now, let us start from a thing which all of you know about and
you experience it every moment in your life and it will be easy for you to analyze because you will have to do some little work by yourself. You will have to think by yourself and do some hard work by yourself, right now. Follow me, but don’t take my words as gospel. Take them and immediately in your own brain – in your own work – verify them, and the result which you will get through verifying them will be a real one and diﬀerent for each individual. You know that all human beings have something that is called memory. Now, what is it, and how you go after it, and how you get it, and what results it brings? Well, how do you memorize a telephone number? It is very simple and
very natural. Either you open the book, you look at the ﬁgures, and let us say the number is Endicott 3567. Then the ﬁrst thing is that look and sort of photographic process when you get the landscape and our head is the camera. You get the landscape – Endicott 3567. You open your lenses, that’s your eyes, and somewhere in the back of your mind is a ﬁlm and Endicott 3567 is ﬁrmly registered on that ﬁlm. Once and for ever it is registered. Now you will say that, “It is registered, but
not being If you would be an ideal human being, once you see something you would never forget it. The animal sees something you would never forget it. The animal sees something once (true, he sees fewer things, just the things necessary for him) and he never forgets. This is the economy of registering things and the moment the animal sees it, it is there forever. Take, for instance, the trick which people who work with tigers and lions in circuses use. When they train them, they use hot spikes and when the tiger or lion tries to jump on the man, he touches that hot spike, gets burned and keeps away. After that, they never use the hot spikes, but paint the end red and then every lion and tiger knows what it means. They never touch it again, and they always remember that the red thing gives a pain. It is true that they don’t have to remember so many telephone numbers, and that’s why they remember things forever. In the actual process of memory, the ﬁgure will be registered and with
ideal conditions and under ideal circumstances, it should be remembered forever. Another proof that it is remembered forever is that very often in our dreams you recall things which you cannot recall in life. Haven’t you witnessed things like that? You recall the wonderful landscape you have seen somewhere. You cannot remember the name, and suddenly, while sleeping, the name comes before you. And you know while you are sleeping that you have recalled that name, and when you wake you forget it again. What I am trying to establish is that the operations of outside life – whatever they are – are registered in the photographic camera which is your head. Now, I have shown you how they are registered through the eyes.
They can be registered through all ﬁve senses. For instance, through your ears you remember tunes, and if you are musical and your voice is coordinated pretty well with your ears, you can sing it. Very often you will ﬁnd people whose voice is not coordinated with their ears – they can recall the tune but cannot repeat it. Now, a good musician who is trained, hearing the tune, can repeat that tune for days – months – years. We are not able to do that, but the operation itself is registered in a certain spot in our brains. Through the sense of touch, you can remember less, because our sense
of touch is not so developed as eyes and ears. If you will, for instance, take an example like this. You have all your dresses in the dark closet and there is no light. You want to pick out the certain dress you want. Don’t you recognize it by the touch? That means that by the touch of that dress – silk or velvet, or even if you have two – you can distinguish it. That shows the thing is registered somewhere inside.