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He and his costars lived in an active psychiatric hospital to prepare and during filming. Famously psychotic characters are also notorious for allegedly driving actors crazy because of method practices.
Method actors have also historically caused themselves physical stress and damage in preparation for roles, which is also an ethical dilemma as far as method acting as a system. Christian Bale and Adrien Brody both lost excessive amounts of weight in short periods of time to the point of anorexic-like behavior during the production of their respective films The Machinist and The Pianist.
During filming, he refused to move from his wheelchair, speak coherently, or feed himself. He did, however, get to know real people with cerebral palsy prior to filming in an attempt to make his portrayal of the ailment as accurate and inoffensive as possible. Method acting is nothing more than an acting technique. It is not some kind of mysterious, ethereal entity that causes actors to go crazy or guarantee them an Oscar. It is neither inherently positive or negative. Film School Rejects Toggle navigation. We hear a lot about method acting. Christian Bale, unhealthily skinny, in The Machinist Method actors have also historically caused themselves physical stress and damage in preparation for roles, which is also an ethical dilemma as far as method acting as a system.
Any performance thus may be seen as a series of actions—as the score of the play—which must be carried out not simply physically but logically and truthfully. They must accomplish their purpose anew each night at every performance rather than merely repeating the external movements. To develop spontaneity, to train himself to behave logically and truthfully, and to listen and respond to his partner, the actor practices improvisation —dramatizing contrived situations without a script.
Improvisation is of enormous importance in the process of training and also of performance. It teaches the actor to speak rather than to read his lines, and it breaks his unconscious adherence to conventional theatrical patterns of behaviour. It forces him to use his senses and often to discover not only the logic but also the significance of a scene. It compels the actor to work creatively and prevents him from reverting to skillful but mechanical repetition.
He is enabled to deal with his own subjection to automatic habitual forms of behaviour and mannerisms and to acquire new means of expression, corresponding to the true nature and strength of his impulse. The basic means of the actor, which have traditionally served as the primary area of his training, are voice and body gesture. It must vary as much as the events to be created.
His attitudes must be those of the character—of a human who may be ill at ease, slovenly, awkward, debilitated, or natural—giving no indication that it is being accomplished by a skilled craftsman.
Noises off: what's the best way to train an actor?
These contain many useful exercises for the strengthening of the respective muscles of the voice and body. But while the technical accomplishment in the singer and in the dancer may represent a large part of what is appreciated in their performances, in the actor the very fact of the accomplishment must remain hidden. Technical accomplishment should go unnoticed by the audience. Stanislavsky suggested that the actor, in approaching his work on a scene, ask himself four questions: The answers to these questions provide the actor with the necessary background for his performance, helping him to create the scene.
In approaching the play in its entirety, the actor must subject his role to more intense analysis: He must discern the beats of the play i. For some plays an additional element is necessary: The attempt to determine it, however, may lead to an excess of verbal and mental gymnastics that are of little actual value, unless the actors have been trained in the proper procedures. The actors must act out the elements involved in the analysis in order to receive any concrete benefit from it; otherwise it may remain superficial or merely intellectual.
Another area deserving attention is the rehearsal process. Without an understanding of the psychology of the rehearsal procedure, much of the work of the actor and the director may be defeated in production. There are, for example, significant possibilities in the reading rehearsal, in which the actors, usually seated in a circle, read aloud from the script and discuss its meanings as they proceed through it. There is enormous value in improvisation, when it is understood and used correctly.
Style is the attribute of any complete achievement; it is not merely the manners and customs of a particular period. Such manners may be more strikingly elegant compared with those of the present, but they remain only manners. The Elizabethan form of theatre had conflicting styles within it, judging from a description of them in Hamlet, and so did the Greek and the French classical theatre.
Style is not, as is sometimes assumed, the opposite of realism. Neither is it necessarily characterized by an expansiveness or broadness in acting. Style is the angle from which reality is observed.
Meisner technique - Wikipedia
It is an attribute of all creative activity—not just of period or classic plays. The search for the specific content and reality of a play leads to style. The search for style in itself or in the traditions of the past often leads to empty forms. Just as style should not be identified with a particular period, neither should it be associated with specific playwrights. These elements are little related to style; otherwise great Shakespearean and Chekhovian productions could be re-created generation after generation in precisely the same way.
The fact is that those dramas must be continually re-created from the new views of each emerging generation. The term style is often used incorrectly in reference to the theatrical conditions that simulate the original concept, structure, and dynamics of a play. Practice has shown that the use of methods traditionally associated with particular types of theatre may bring a fresh understanding to totally unrelated theatrical forms.
In such a case, an actor not only understands his part, but also feels it, and that is the most important thing in creative work on the stage"; quoted by Magarshack , He would disguise himself as a tramp or drunk and visit the railway station, or as a fortune-telling gypsy. As Benedetti explains, however, Stanislavski soon abandoned the technique of maintaining a characterisation in real life; it does not form a part of his "system". Laurence Olivier at Seventy-Five". The American actor Dustin Hoffman, playing a victim of imprisonment and torture in the film The Marathon Man, prepared himself for his role by keeping himself awake for two days and nights.
He arrived at the studio disheveled and drawn to be met by his co-star, Laurence Olivier. The Substance and the Shadow. Archived from the original on 8 February Retrieved 9 January A Multi-level, Experience-sampling Study. Shaping Emotions on Stage. I was born to play Marilyn. The Art of Acting. The Technique of Acting. Hagen, Uta and Haskel Frankel.
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A Challenge for the Actor. Meisner, Sanford , and Dennis Longwell. Sanford Meisner on Acting. London and New York: An Actor's Work on a Role. Strasberg at the Actors Studio: A Dream of Passion: The Development of the Method. The Lee Strasberg Notes. Hitchcock and the Anxiety of Authorship. The Cambridge Guide to Theatre. Original edition published in Stanislavski and the Actor.
His Life and Art. In Leach and Borovsky , — Studies in Cinema The Director and the Stage: From Naturalism to Grotowski. Russian Theatre Archive Ser. Pathways for the Actor".
- Meisner technique.
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In Hodge , 11— An Introduction to Twentieth-Century Theatre. The Daily Telegraph 23 January Accessed 13 August