How not to... go too far

All About History - - PERFORMING ARTS -

Method act­ing has evolved since the 1930s, even though its ba­sics have re­mained the same. Con­cerns were soon raised about the ex­tent to which a role and per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence should blend, and the men­tal ef­fects that could have on an ac­tor. There has also been crit­i­cism that method act­ing is too in­ter­nally fo­cused, to the detri­ment of voice and pro­jec­tion.

As such there have been al­ter­na­tives to, and de­par­tures from, Lee Stras­berg’s orig­i­nal meth­ods. Amer­i­can ac­tress Stella Adler, who had stud­ied with Rus­sian the­atre prac­ti­tioner Kon­stantin Stanislavski, was against draw­ing on emo­tional mem­ory and she in­stead em­pha­sised imag­i­na­tion over past ex­pe­ri­ence. Mean­while, Amer­i­can ac­tor San­ford Meis­ner based his ap­proach to method act­ing on Stanisklavski’s sys­tem, Stras­berg’s teach­ings and Adler’s stance.

The Meis­ner tech­nique had ac­tors in­stinc­tively be­hav­ing to their en­vi­ron­ment and fo­cus­ing on oth­ers in a scene. Yet some ac­tors still be­come fully ab­sorbed in a role. Daniel Day-lewis, Heath Ledger and Chris­tian Bale are among those who have re­mained in char­ac­ter on- and off-screen.

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