Method acting is a technique where actors draw feelings and experiences from their personal emotions and memories to build a character. Actor, theatre director and theorist, Constantin Stanislavski developed the concept of Method Acting.
This revolutionised acting technique was further adopted and developed by actor, director, and teacher Lee Strasberg. He developed certain exercises in Method Acting that helped actors to develop their internal abilities like sensory, psychological and emotional moods. These exercises were:
Sense Memory: In method acting, an actor uses ‘sense memory’ to connect a circumstance of a character in a play or movie. Here, actors use the memories of sense to explore a range of experiences and emotions. For example, if a scene requires an actor to feel cold, he/she will recreate the sense of ‘cold’ from their memory.
Emotional Memory: In this exercise, actors use their experiences to connect with the character’s emotional state. For example, if the character has to express loss, an actor will try to recall an experience of loss from their past.
Animal exercise: This is one of the strangest exercises in Method Acting. In this exercise, actors observe animals and then recreate a scene through the animal’s point of view. The experience that the actor will acquire through this is then incorporated in his/her character.
Shernaz Patel (Actor and HOD Acting, Whistling Woods International) shares, “The greatest trick of acting is to figure out emotional and physical actions within a set of given circumstances.”
Through these exercises, Strasberg tried to solve acting blocks, which is said to have helped actors like Al Pacino, Marilyn Monroe, Jack Nicholson and Dustin Hoffman, amongst others. The technique of Method Acting requires proper guidance. And, film schools like Whistling Woods International’s Actors’ Studio understands the importance of Method Acting. Thus, giving students a chance to explore beyond their boundaries.