Basics of Method Acting
Method acting is a technique used by actors to be able to deliver the emotions as realistic and as genuine as it can be. They try to identify as closely as possible with the character that they are playing by reliving experiences from their personal lives and relating them to the life of the character; thus creating a sort of connection between both worlds. Often times, imagination is being used in the process, as you have to picture yourself being in the shoes of the unreal persona that you are playing. This may not come easy to some, especially for people who cannot remember much or can but wouldn’t want to go back to a painful phase in their lives.
To create a fuller understanding, enumerated below are the basics of method acting:
It is essential for this acting technique to relax and stay calm. This helps the actor relieve himself from any muscle tensions or from any worries that his mind might be preoccupied about.
Sense and Emotional Memory.
With the actor’s body and mind calmed, he is now able to concentrate more and appeal to his sense memory. Sense memory is an exercise which appeals to the actor’s senses that will remind him of certain scenarios and experiences from the past. This enables the actor to recall certain feeling and emotions that may be useful for the character such as the misery of losing a loved one or the anger felt when you have been betrayed by a friend.
One of the most common exercises for such is the animal exercises where the actor is challenged to portray an animal based on specific attributes, attitudes and physical features. The whole point of this exercise is being able to internalize and see yourself as being the character; thus giving more life and luster to your acting. It also appeals to the actor’s creativity and how he or she will be able to convince the audience that he is what they should think he is.
Scene work is a technique which helps the actors explore the character more in a more systematic way through a list of questions such as “Who am I? Why am I like this? Where am I at?”. This gives the actor a chance to gather information on the specifics rather than just taking in what comes across them.