What is Method Acting?

There are various types of acting techniques such as Classical acting, Motion-capture acting, Character comedy, Method acting etc. Method acting is one of the best acting techniques, which produces astonishing performances though also requires more pre-preparation. Method acting is a technique or a kind of acting where an actor tries to encourage true and genuine performance by completely possessing the role of the character. Unlike classical acting which is essentially action-based, method acting is emotion-based.

The techniques were invented by a Russian actor and director, Konstantin Stanislavski in 1900s. Stanislavski’s system nurtured the significance of experience or what he calls the ‘art of experiencing’. He said that actors should be encouraged to create naturalistic emotions based on their own experiences, that can help them generate emotions to connect with the character. As Stanislavski’s ideas were in action, ideas and techniques of a Russian-Armenian student Yevgeny Vakhtangov also influenced on the development of Method. Later in 1930s, The technique was developed and brought to American studios by Lee Strasberg and Elia Kazan. A Polish-born American actor and director, Lee Strasberg would stretch his actors to the edge concerning what they could accomplish, to depict the feeling that he accepted they ought to portray. On the off chance that the actor accepts the feeling and feels the feeling they should portray the crowd, at that point it’s a sensible assumption that the audience will get a handle on the feeling and comprehend what the actor is attempting to speak to and, thus, relate with them. Strasberg also provided exercises such as Relaxation, Memory and Affective Memory, Concentration, and lastly Private Moment exercise. Elia Kazan, a Greek-American director, producer, writer and actor, on the other hand, believed that actor should mine their own encounters to make a more noteworthy intimacy with the viewer, to welcome them in to their mental scene, regardless of how troublesome or genuinely extreme. Stella Adler, an actress and acting teacher believed that actors should animate emotional experience by envisioning the scene’s given conditions, instead of reviewing their own personal experiences. Stanislavski’s and Strasberg’s approaches faced criticisms such as how an actor can portray something which they have never experienced?

In India, Dilip Kumar was a pioneer of method acting, he pioneered his own type of technique acting with no acting school insight and inspired many Indian actors such as Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui.  

Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji in Padmaavat (Source: Google)

There are also various psychological effects occurred due to this technique, such as sleep deprivation, mental heath issues, weight loss. Not every memory can be a happy memory, if one has a traumatic memory from past there are chances it may be even more traumatic in their present. Sometimes actors themselves can’t distinguish when they are in the character or are their own self. Let’s take example of Ranveer Singh, for his role of Alauddin Khilji he explored the depths of negativity, locked himself up with least interactions. His preparation was showcased remarkably in the film but also affected him and changed his way of interaction with people around him and he had to go to a shrink to act like a ‘normal being’. Kate Winslet, a Hollywood actress, for her role as a former Nazi guard in The Reader spoke in German accent with her closed ones. Even after filming it took her several months to get back to herself.

Method acting is a kind of acting that yields such unfathomable performances, the audience gets totally lost in the realms of the character. Actors create truthful performances for the audience and that’s what audience truly admire and love to watch.

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