“To Illuminate The Life Of The Human Spirit”
WHAT IS METHOD ACTING?
Simply stated, “Method” acting is acting “real” by using experiences and impressions from the actor’s own life to create the parallel experiences and impressions of the life of the character onstage.
Lee Strasberg described the results of this approach by stating that “conventional” acting comes out to you, the audience, and “shows” you, and “demonstrates” to you. [“Method”] acting demands that you, the audience, go where it is going, so that you not simply understand what the character is experiencing,you also experience it.
For those interested in understanding the “Method” as taught by Lee Strasberg, the book on the leftreproduces the original teachings of Strasberg in actor training, for the very first time. It is a stunning document in the history and ongoing practice of Strasberg’s Method.
Training in the fundamentals of Relaxation, Sense Memory, Concentration & Imagination, the actor begins the lifelong process of using himself to breathe life into the fiction of the play, as his inner awareness and artistic sense of truth develop with time and experience.
RELAXATION AND THE ACTOR
Tension is the actor’s greatest enemy. Strasberg devised an exercise which helps the actor identify unwanted tension in the body, including mental tension, then release that tension through an act of will. Until an actor is properly relaxed onstage, he cannot express in purest form the thoughts and emotions which propel his character through the events of the play. The importance of relaxation is proven repeatedly in the workshop.
The actor must learn to make his senses respond onstage as they do in real life. Strasberg’s Sense Memory exercises were developed to help the actor strengthen his awareness of how the senses affect him in life. Only when the actor believes that what he is doing on the stage is real, will the audience also believe that what he is doing on the stage is real. Sensory exercises help the actor learn to concentrate on specific “objects of attention” (determined from the logic of the play) and to overcome “moments of difficulty” in his life onstage.
Although by simply executing a Sense Memory exercise – taking a cold shower – the actor pictured above might appear as though he had suddenly discovered his entire family brutally murdered. (Above) Philip Watt executing a “cold shower” sensory exercise.
For a more complete explanation leading to a better understanding of the approach to the actors’ art known as “Method” acting, click on the “Method Acting Procedures” menu at the top of the page to access the various sub-menus describing the procedures.