Introduction to Concentration :In our daily lives, no matter what activity we perform, the job in hand becomes smoother if done with concentration. It may be a baseball player playing the World Series, a scientist looking for a cancer cure, or a mother teaching her child to read. In all these cases, more focus and concentration will get better results.
The ability of the human mind to concentrate produces powerful results, which are demonstrated especially where more than one person is involved. Take path breaking events such as man’s landing on the moon, sailing around the globe or climbing Mount Everest, all these acts were once thought impossible, but through the undivided concentration on a single goal, the impossible was achieved. Stanislavski’s view on acting was similar. An actor must develop a high level of concentration for an audience to understand and believe in him or rather believe in his character in the script. Remember if physical action is the ‘bread,’ concentration is the ‘butter’.
Concentrating on an object produces a natural need to do something with it. Action concentrates the attention even more closely on the object. So, concentration plus action creates a close bond with the object. This means when we try to maintain our focus on a particular object, we naturally feel the impulse to handle it, observe it. For instance, if an actor intends to observe a glass placed on the table keenly, he is most likely going to hold it in his hand and view its design, and it’s content. He might hold it aloft as a part of the action. While doing this, he gets a closer and an all-round view, which is what is meant, when it is said that action leads to attention and a bonding with the object. An actor has to forget the spectators when he is acting, just as a professional sportsperson while competing in an event, forgets or stops thinking about the spectator, in order to win. Winning in this case means staying in the ‘now’ moment. All plays/script are a series of ‘now’ moments. The actor goes from one ‘now’ moment to the next. An object of concentration is any person or thing the actor is focused on as mentioned above. In order to stay in the ‘now’ moment, the actor must stay focused on the object of concentration (just as in the example above, a ‘glass’ is the object of concentration). This object can change throughout a scene or play. The next scene could be an outdoor scene, and an actor’s object of concentration here might change to a tree, or bungalow, or a horse.
In the world of movies, concentration takes on three forms: the real world, the imaginary world, and multi-level focus. The ‘real world’ is the actor’s personal world, outside his profession. The five senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch come in to play in his personal life. The imaginary world is the world of the character that the actor plays.
Multi-level focus simply means concentrating on more than one thing. Knitting a sweater and talking to a friend while watching children play through a window is a good example of multi-level focusing. Concentration has two important components.