Professor Alexander Erskine - A Hypnotist’s Case Book – Helping an actor remember his lines
Type of Spiritual Experience
His nervous breakdown may well have erased the lines from memory, but his perceptions would still be accessible
A description of the experience
A Hypnotist’s Case Book – Professor Alexander Erskine
… an actor came to me one day for help.
At forty-eight hours' notice he had been called upon to play the part of Macbeth, and as he had played it a few years previously he had had no doubt that he would rub it up easily. In the meantime, however, he had had a bad nervous breakdown, and to his dismay found that the part would not "come back" to him.
He had already spent much of his valuable time trying to learn the part, and had failed. Could I help him?
I put him to sleep, and then, reaching down a Shakespeare, told him that I would read every other part in the play, and that he would act - not recite, act - Macbeth. "And," I concluded, "you will know every word."
He went through the part "word perfect"; in fact, so accurate was he that when I read lines which had been cut in his version as acted four years previously, he broke in on me and told me where to continue.
I do not think that I have ever seen a more inspired Macbeth than he played in my consulting-room. His performance next day was equally inspited and I am still wondering to what extent he was Macbeth, as distinct from an actor playing the part