Day 7 Topic 2
There are a lot of different ways to approach acting. Here are some of the most common schools of thought. The goal of this section is to pique your interest and introduce you to the most influential schools of acting. Each school has its benefits and weaknesses. The temptation is to specialize in one to the exclusion of others. Take any opportunity you can to learn what each has to offer you. You can find some of my favorite books in the store under acting books.
Two Acting Styles : 8 Schools
Inside to out (Method Acting) : Emotion Based
The following Schools of Acting are relatively modern and can be characterized by having an approach that starts with discovering the inner world of a character as a means to arrive at an external expression of that internal world.
Stanislavsky: He is considered the father of modern acting technique. This school is known for emotional memory, spiritual realism, self-analysis, and the magic if.
Strasberg: This school is known for mimicking character’s experiences within the context of their own “real” lives.
Stella Adler: This school is known for being Stanislavsky based but emphasizes imagination over emotional recall. “You have to get beyond your own precious inner experiences.”
Meisner: This school is known for repetition exercises, following the impulse, and not forcing action. “Live truthfully under given imaginary circumstances.” Emphasizes openness, honesty, and listening above all else.
Chekhov: This school is known for “psycho-physical” technique that draws on physical actions and mind-body connection to create a sensual approach to the character.
Practical Aesthetics: This school is known for the pursuit of action above all else, Text-analysis, script work, and a literal understanding of a scene’s driving events.
Uta Hagen: Her teachings focus on Realism and “Substitution” or “transfer” of personal memories and experience into the experiences of the characters.
Viola Spolin : Her work and followers are known for their focus on “Theater games” inspiring students to respond immediately and live in the moment. Focus on self-direction and improvisation.
Outside to in (Classical Acting aka “The Shakespearean style”) : Action Based
Classical Acting or “The Shakespearean style” is based on building muscle memory and imitating behaviors as a means to tell a story.
For opera working your role both ways is crucial.
There was a research project where they had a group of people come in and rate how happy they were on a scale of 1-10. They then had that group hold pencils in their mouth sideways. They then had that same group rate how happy they were after the experience of holding the pencils in their mouths and found that they became, in general, much happier. You see, the act of holding the pencil imitates a similar action to smiling. The result suggests that our behaviors affect our mood and not just the other way around.
With music, because the timing is predetermined by a composer, the ability to logically plot out a logical sequence of thoughts and behaviors according to the demands of the music is crucial. It is also important for today’s audiences that the performance feels spontaneous and fresh and to maintain the illusion of reality on stage. Consequently, working from the “inside out” so that a performer understand the emotions, psyche, and objectives of their character and can let their action be a natural result of that understanding as well as from the “outside-in” so that a performer can follow a reliable sequence of events that are timed with the more rigid format of music is important and will yield a much more constant and reliable performance that the audience will enjoy.