Method acting is without a doubt one of the most famed forms of acting out there. It has been used by iconic Hollywood actors like Nicolas Cage, Heath Ledger, Robert de Niro and Marlon Brando, who all say that the method helps them to portray authentic and convincing characters with ease.
Of course, the fact that method acting is used by some of the world’s best actors means that even novices are keen to learn how to use the technique themselves. It is actually quite simple to learn as well, as long as you are dedicated to it and practice its core tenets on a regular basis!
It also helps to know exactly what method acting is if you wish to jump in and start learning about it. The acting method is derived from the work of famous playwrights like Stanislavski, Eugene Vahktangov, and Meyerhold, and despite popular belief, is not dangerous in any way if practised correctly.
What Exactly is Method Acting?
Simply put, method acting requires you to identify completely with a part or character from an emotional standpoint. You need to feel what your character would feel, say what they would say, and do what they would do in order to fully embody the character and the emotions behind them. This system was first introduced to the US in the 1930s, and as mentioned above, has since developed a significant following in Hollywood and beyond.
According to experts, one of the biggest misconceptions about method acting is the concept of ‘sense memory’. Sense memory is a process through which your brain recreates an experience after remembering the same sensation that a previous sensory experience created for it. A great example of this would be eating your favourite food. When you think about it, can you smell it, see it, and nearly taste it if you think hard enough? That is sense memory in action!
Practice Makes Perfect
Famed playwrights have developed an extensive system of exercises that trains actions to re-experience sensory experiences; this is the foundation of method acting. Some exercises, like those of Strasberg, are simply intended to help you to understand the reality of an experience, like feeling a temperature or tasting something familiar.
Many plays and films have fine details enclosed therein, and many characters have to recreate the ambience of sitting in the sun, playing online bingo NZ, drinking something refreshing, or experiencing an emotion their actors may not have experienced personally.
With enough practice, you can re-experience all of this without significant mental or physical efforts. You would simply feel affected by a circumstance you have trained yourself to become familiar with, and recount that behaviour on the stage or the screen.
Exercising Your Acting Muscles
The exercises mentioned above are basically there to help you to get used to feeling and believing in imagined scenarios. Your brain will always know that you haven’t experienced them personally, though, so it is up to you to add believability to your character regardless.
However, what is real for your body will eventually seem real to your mind, so method acting is largely about training and dedication in equal parts. Once you are adept at believing in what is not real and conveying that belief on stage, your acting capabilities will soar to all-new heights!