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Past, Present, Future

December 11 2013 , Written by Wing-Fai Thi

Doing science is learning something everyday. But recently I am learning a lot about myself and about human behaviour by joining a theatre club.

One requirement for being a good actor is presence. At the theatre course we trained ourselves to focus on the present. We should not reflect on the past; the past is done and nothing can change it. The future will happen but not now. We should not speculate on what will happen. We need to focus on the moment, on the text, on the acting right at that moment. To connect with the audience, one has to make it feel that you live in the present, not in the past, and not wondering about the future. You need to captivate and keep the attention of the audience.

The exercise is difficult. Each of us in turn has to speak loudly in front of the others for three minutes about the present: no reflexion of the past, no judgement, no projection to the future, just the current feelings. This is not a tweeting exercise where your fingers type stupid comments faster than your neurones can connect.

P.S. For those of you who start to wonder what I am actually doing at work, I attended this week the ultimate utterly useless meeting where it was announced that a deadline has passed a month ago. This week I will help a student rehearses his PhD presentation. I find this much more gratifying and useful.

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