Actors, high steel workers and surgeons all need to clear their minds to do their work.
When they begin work they go into made up time.
They become the brain, the steel or the role.
In his book When Breath Becomes Air, neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi describes time while operating:
‘…funny thing about time in OR, whether you race frenetically or proceed steadily, is that you have no sense of it passing. If boredom is, as Heidegger argued, the awareness of time passing, then surgery felt like the opposite: the intense focus made the arms of the clock seem arbitrarily placed. Two hours could feel like a minute. Once the final stitch was placed and the wound was dressed, normal time suddenly restarted.’
Normal time restarted. That’s when they call ‘cut’.
When the director calls ‘action’ we pass into made up time. We have to. We make ourselves believe this ‘time’. We pretend to live in a time separate from those not in front of the camera.
What wonderful abilities actors have.