“Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Acting is a complex art form that encompasses different forms of techniques. The most popular ones are:
It involves adopting the lifestyle, habits or traits of the character portrayed by the actor. A character’s psychological motives and personal identifications become the core matter in method acting. This technique is associated with Lee Strasberg, a world-renowned American actor, director and acting teacher. Actors like Jonny Depp, Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson have been known to be following method acting.
Stanislavski Acting Technique:
Constantin Stanislavski influenced the modern techniques by introducing Stanislavskian approach in the field of acting. This technique involves looking at the script closely and analysing the path of the character. Stanislavski emphasised on realism and also used the exercise named ‘magic if’. In this exercise, the actor has to think what they would do if in the place of the character. This technique influenced acting mentors like Stella Adler, Lee Strasberg and Uta Hagen.
Brecht Acting Technique:
Bertolt Brecht was the father of epic theater. He wanted the audience to think about society and change it. In this technique, emphasis is placed on gestures, which demonstrate emotions. This technique includes acting formats such as stereotypes, using placards, ensemble and montage.
This technique developed by theatre practitioner Sanford Meisne concentrates on the ‘self’. Here, actors practice the exercise of repetition. In this exercise, two actors sit across each other and communicate with each other by repeating a phrase. The phrase is about the behaviour of both actors involved in the scene. The tone keeps changing depending on the response each receives from the opposite person. Few actors that practice this technique are Naomi Watts, Tom Cruise and James Franco.
The Chekhov Technique:
Michael Chekhov, a student of Stanislavski was the founder of this technique. In this, a psycho-physical approach is taken by the actor. Here, the actor uses techniques like transformation, working with an impulse and imagination. Marline Monroe, Clint Eastwood, Patricia Neal, Anthony Hopkins are some of the actors who followed the Chekhov Technique.
Developed by David Mamet — an American playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and film director — the technique is based on the practice of breaking down a scene using a four-step analysis:
- ‘Literal’- It means what is happening in the present moment.
- ‘Want’- It is to know what one character wants the other character to say or do.
- ‘Essential Action’- The precise want of the character is recognised, while establishing the difference between the character and the actor.
- ‘As if’- This relates the essential action to the actor’s own life.
Knowing these techniques will enhance your acting abilities. Moreover, experimenting with different techniques will help you be a versatile actor. Whistling Woods International can teach you all these techniques and much more. So, go out there and master the art of acting!