All About History

How not to... go too far


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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