There are different schools of acting that you can undertake when you decide to join the acting field. One of these is method acting, which you must have heard more than once. The main question that you need to ask yourself is precisely what this ‘method’ acting is. We’ll explain what this field entails and what you need to know about it.
What is method acting?
Method acting employs the actor’s personal experiences to create natural performances. This helps actors experience how their characters are feeling. Actors equipped in method acting, therefore, employ their memories to portray the roles they play. Drawing from their memories does not mean that they must have undergone the same experience. Actors can employ related feelings in their characters.
History of method acting
Method acting can be attributed to Konstantin Stanislavski, who was one of the greatest Russian theatre practitioners in the early years of the twentieth century. His ideas about acting, which includes the famous motto, ‘there are no small parts, only some actors,’ were used to develop method acting.
What exactly were these ideas? Simple. Stanislavski encouraged actors to be natural in their performances, deviating from the heightened acting style prevalent at the time. Like classical acting, method acting also came up as a reaction to the form of acting in the early centuries. Konstantin’s ideas were then furthered by Lee Strasberg and a group of actors in 1930, which saw Lee set up the Group Theatre and the Actors Studio in New York.
The Actors Studio paved the way for several notable actors, who learnt and got skilled in method acting. These include the famous Robert De Niro, Marilyn Monroe and Julia Roberts.
Why is it called method acting?
This field is referred to as method acting because it employs different methods to play a character. There is method in method acting. You are required to find ways of getting into the mind of a character. It requires actors to go to the extreme to bring the best out of a character. A good example would be Daniel Day Lewis’s experiences in the movies, Christy Brown, in my left Foot and The last of the Mohicans.
He had to go through the most bizarre experiences to own his character, including learning how to fire and load riffles as he ran and building canoes with fewer resources.
Why should you study method acting?
You are probably wondering why you should pick method acting out of all the fields of acting. Well, here are some of the reasons:
- It helps actors create truthful performances- Method acting requires that an actor does everything he can to embody a character. A perfect example is Dustin Hoffman’s character in Marathon Man, where he had to stay awake for forty-eight hours continually to act Thomas Levy.
- Such method of acting gets the audience engaged and fully engrossed in what the actor does. Actors have to experience the hardest of situations to make a performance as natural as possible.
Where can I study method acting?
There are several places that you can study method acting. You must, however, be prepared since this process requires utmost commitment and persistence. Here is a guide on how you can study and master method acting:
- Find a method acting institution
Do not flatter yourself that you can learn method acting in the comfort of your home. The first thing is to find an institution that teaches method acting. Such an institution will equip you with the necessary resources to master this type of acting. You will also participate in class performances and schoolwide performances, which is the practical part of learning. Lastly, a method acting institution brings you closer to people that you share the same interest with.
- Enroll in acting classes
You don’t have to be enrolled in a school to take acting classes. There a few local courses that you can undertake. This is different from an institution. You will learn with people of varying skill levels and interests, which will help you master this field faster. You will also get more information and professional help relating to method acting without having to be religiously enrolled in a school. This will serve you well if you have a career that you are pursuing. You can look up some of these classes if you have an internet connection.
- Join a local theatre community
Connecting with your local theatre community can also help you learn and master method acting. You will also get to discuss and link with similar minded people. A local theatre community will serve you well if you are a beginner. Most of the actors in these settings are not on the international or professional scene but can help you learn a few things about method acting. You can contact the head of your local theatre and find out what resources they provide to their students. You can also seek advice on the areas you find challenging.
What are some of the method acting exercises?
You need to relax before anything else. Relaxing allows you to embody your character and give your best effortlessly. Ensure that you relax all parts of your body. You can take part in Yoga and meditation exercises to relax your body and mind. Method acting also dictates that you should use your sense memory and concentration. Therefore, try to tap into memories of your senses. Concentrate and visualize the experiences associated with the mind. The personal object exercise can help you achieve this. Just explore an object that means a lot to you using your senses.
what is method acting
Method acting is one of the most popular fields in today’s theatres. It is also a lucrative field that will help you maximize your talents. It mainly entails embodying your character, a powerful skill that you have to learn.
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