Learn about these tools as your brain’s design to process information with your mind. But understand that your heart has a “mind” too; your “heart-mind” try to train yourself to also use your heart in the process of learning. When applying the Method, the tools you have developed need to be used with the heart. The mind tends to hinder us with the always overthinking voice of the ego. The way to use these tools for maximum impact is through the heart.Sylvia Love Johnson, method Acting Tutor
Marlon Brando on Method Acting
“Acting and living, and everything else, for that matter, is compassion.
What Lee and Stella [Adler] and Mira [Rostova] and Herbert [Berghof] were all espousing was compassion, an amplification of humanity, which is all that will save a scene or a play or a relationship or the world.
The world is so inordinately tiny, not geographically, but spiritually. We shuffle along, happy to do the least amount of work, the least amount of exploration, perhaps because we feel we don’t deserve all the riches that surround us.
Movies, plays, art, music, and interaction with other people who sought compassion and understanding saved me, and they will keep us all. What is at the heart of The Method is compassion empathy.
Go into your private moments and private spaces and realize all you’ve felt and all that has been given to you and taken away.
We will never murder; we might never give birth; we were not Napoleon. But within us are similar emotions, drives, feelings that can place us within an adjoining heart of a murderer, of Napoleon. Of anyone.
What the teachers were telling us, what Lee was telling his students, was to empathize with your own history and to merge with the accounts of others.
Art means nothing if it does not connect with an audience, even it might be an audience of one.
Honesty with our emotions will connect with someone else’s openness with their own emotions.
Otherwise, it is performing, which is not confused with acting.
Call it Method, call it acting, call it art; it is the painful, glorious compassion that joins us all, shared in one space at one time.”Marlon Brando
Your research needs to be emotional and spiritual.
– Sylvia Love Johnson
Acting enhances and expands your imagination
– Sylvia Love Johnson
When researching and preparing a role, your aim is not to learn and remember as many things as possible about your character. You aim to start thinking and acting like your character from day one of your research. To achieve this, your research is not merely intellectual; your research needs to be emotional and spiritual. It needs to involve psychological discoveries and action; more specifically, you must use improvisation and imagination.
As an Acting Tutor, I can easily see this misconception in my students.
Method Acting consists of several techniques that help guide your character research. It’s thought-provoking; it enhances and expands your imagination and uses improvisation as the canvas on which you begin to draw your character.
Method Acting is Transformational
Any Acting Tutor will tell you that Method Acting Coaching is Transformational for my Acting Coaching clients.
The ability to become one with your character when given favourable and thorough characterization, method acting techniques, physical theatre practices and character embodiment comes as second nature, with my transformational ways into character development.
The ability to transform from one thought to another, one trigger to the next, from one state of being to another state. One line of action or emotional events to the next. From the inner vibrational impulse to the full manifestation of the thought, idea or condition. With no separation between thought, time and purpose. This is transformational, and you can learn to do it with your character research. Learn to always create afresh without limitations. My methods let you meet your character from an infinite choice of perceptions. Every time you are “up” is a new unique moment and an opportunity for your character by which it will inevitably grow and expand.
With Method Acting, you grow in performance expertise, ways into character, and the confidence that comes only through mastery of the acting craft.Sylvia Love Johnson
Stanislavsky’s Methodology Introduction
As an Acting Tutor, my teachings derive from Stanislavsky’s and Strasberg’s methodologies.
The Stanislavski System and teachings during the later period of his life are looked up first. He radically changed his earlier techniques in favour of what is now known as the Stanislavski Methodology. The most crucial highlight in his radical shift is the evolution of his ‘Method of Physical Actions’, which was formed in 1933, a few years before his death in 1938. This ‘Method of Physical Actions’ replaced his earlier techniques heavily based on ‘Emotional Memory and long readings and analysis of the text when rehearsing a production.
Stanislavski- The Early Years: A Brief Chronology
In June 1897 in Russia, Stanislavski and successful author-producer Nemirovich Danchenko merged their acting companies and formed the Moscow Art Theatre, popularly known as MAT. This was in response to the then-current state of theatre that was, in Stanislavski’s words, ‘hopeless’ with ‘cliched traditions’ and ‘ham acting.’
In 1898 Chekhov allowed the MAT to produce his play, Seagull. Though this production turned out to be a mediocre success, it became the precursor of reforms in actor training, leading to Stanislavski’s famed ‘inner technique.’ The actors in Seagull brought out psychological depth and searched for ‘inner truth’ (Gray 138). This was a significant shift from ‘self-obsessed’ or ‘audience obsessed’ actors. The same year, Stanislavski was influenced by French psychologist Theodule Ribot’s concept ‘Affective Memory.’ This concept was renamed ‘Emotional Memory’ in Stanislaviskian terms. Later it became the main subject of controversy regarding interpretations of Stanislavski’s System in the American Theatre.
After trying to understand his own recent lifelessness on stage, Stanislavski wrote the first draft for his techniques in 1909. He observed creative and talented actors and tried to find common ground. He started to formulate principles (including Emotional Memory) that he felt created these great performances.
The MAT actors were initially resistant but, on Danchenko’s insistence, eventually agreed to apply some of Stanislavski’s techniques to their performances. Stanislavski, therefore, formed the First Studio in 1911, which became a laboratory for his new experiments. The First Studio trained Eugene Vakhtangov (Stanislavski’s brilliant pupil), Richard Boleslavsky (who first taught Stanislavski’s methods in the United States) and Michael Chekhov.
For the next few years, Stanislavski continued to direct and work with his techniques on his actors, always trying to find the best training methods for actors. After a while, even though the MAT was outwardly successful, Stanislavski felt a need to reformulate his techniques to renew the integrity of his System.
Stanislavski’s Need for Change
Stanislavski’s dissatisfaction with his earlier experiments in Emotional Memory led him to develop a methodology that would change the way emotions were triggered. This methodology purported that emotions could be stimulated through simple physical actions, which was the basis of his new System. The suggestion by Stanislavski that there is a connection between internal experiences and their physical expression has since been verified and substantiated by scientists such as Ivan Pavlov and I.M. Sechenov.
While searching for the ultimate training system for actors, Stanislavski noticed a gap between the physical and mental behaviour of the Actor on stage and between the physical and psychological preparation in the Actor’s work on the character.
In other words, the Actor spent long days working internally and emotionally and then tried to create a physicality in character.
However, it was too late for organic physical work by that time. This was because the internal emotional choices of the Actor had already found a physicality that was most likely to be minor, unoriginal and lacking in theatrical form. Stanislavski realized that the physical life and psychological processes that the Actor underwent needed to be explored simultaneously because they were interdependent. This led him to the radical yet straightforward discovery that physical actions could stimulate emotions.
This move from ‘Emotional Memory’ to his ‘Method of Physical Actions’ was a fundamental shift in actor training at that time. It met with much resistance in Russia at the Moscow Art Theatre and was resisted even more by acting students in the United States.
Stanislavski constantly shifted his views, always trying to find more efficient ways to perform. This is why he was hesitant to publish his work for a long time. If he were alive today, he would most likely have continued to change his views.
Thus, while understanding his System, it is essential to refrain from fossilizing his ideas. The System can be viewed as a process in actor training, a learning tool for the Actor, and not as a dogma to be followed with blind faith.
THE METHOD OF PHYSICAL ACTIONS (1934-1938)
Stanislavski’s System proposed that a series of physical actions arranged in sequential order would trigger the necessary emotions in an actor’s performance. These emotions were based in the unconscious (or subconscious) and could not otherwise directly come to the surface when needed.
They would have to be brought out through indirect means. Hence his search for the ‘conscious means to the unconscious’ led him to create this ‘Method of Physical Actions,’ a physical map plotted out for the Actor. This ‘conscious’ physical map of action would then arouse and bring out the ‘unconscious’ emotions of the Actor.
Acting Tutor: Method Acting Short Introduction Video
Method Acting Tutor Foundation Exercises: Sense Memory
We use the technique to access the feelings and behaviours of our characters. Training your mind, body, and senses helps you create a truthful presence on the stage.
Strasberg stated that actors must understand their own nature and respond with their senses before transforming into characters. The work conveys the necessity of experiencing life, the world, people, and objects through the five senses: what you see, smell, hear, touch, and taste.
The time and intensity devoted to practising the exercises train your concentration. The senses act as gateways to feelings, behaviours, and responses. Reliving sensory experiences when creating a role, the Actor fully breathes life into the character.
With this Method, characters emerge organically and unanticipated. Each sensory exercise acts as a catalyst for the Actor to discover different sides of their personality and initiate new and original ideas that ultimately lead to thinking and behaving like the character. The process of the memories experienced through the five senses is internal; the subconscious mind takes over, bringing specific impulses to the surface.
The personal memories triggered through the exercises, where you explore events, places, and people from your own life, accentuate your creativity, giving you a limitless range of feelings, actions, behaviours, and gestures needed for your character. The trained Actor masters the ability to start and stop emotions at will and never be swallowed up by them in a way that they cannot speak or respond to the other actors.