The information offered here covers everything from Getting Started As An Actor to Method Acting Procedures, as well as including links to other valuable acting and theatre related websites.
Simply stated, "Method" acting is acting "real" by using experiences
and impressions from the actor's own life to create the life of the character
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. The great actress Shelley Winters explained, "It's not whether you can cry on stage, it's whether you can make them cry in the audience."
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.
And what is an "artistic sense of truth"? It's knowing when you're onstage that what you are doing is truthful, not just conventional stage manerisms. Inside each actor is his or her own inner voice which KNOWS whether what he or she is doing is truthful, or just getures, facial expressions and manufactured mannerisms which allow the actor to "play it safe" - in other words, a load of crap. Artists seek to fine tune that inner voice, in order to be able to trust that inner voice to guide the artist through a moment-to-moment truthful performance onstage (or in front of a camera).
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 actors' 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. There is nothing more beautiful for the actor than actually living on the stage. The sensation is almost trancelike.
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 executing a simple Sense Memory exercise - taking a cold shower - the actor pictured at left might
appear as though he had suddenly discovered his entire family brutally murdered. We might ask, "Well, if an actor wants to react to his family being brutally murdered, then why doesn't he just imagine he's looking at his real family brutally murdered?" The answer: "Go for it, if it works for you." However, by exploring the senses at home or in a workshop environment, the actor will discover unexpected, unpredictable reactions to fictional demands which his imagination might not always supply on demand.