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Character building and what makes a truly great actor

Toggle navigation Menu. Name of resource. Problem URL. Describe the connection issue. SearchWorks Catalog Stanford Libraries. Approaches to acting : past and present. Imprint London ; New York : Continuum, Physical description vi, p. Online Available online. Full view.

Glossary of Technical Theatre Terms – Directing –

It truly depends on the individual and what style works best for them. The approach to this training is having the actor act on their emotional impulses — essentially, leading with their heart as opposed to their brain. The Stanislavsky method requires that an actor use his emotional memory when approaching the work. This requires an actor to recall past experiences and memories and bring them into any given scene or character they are bringing to life.

By doing this, one should be able to reach a greater understanding and a richer connection to the emotional states of their characters. Script Analysis and Performance Technique classes focus on analyzing a script by understanding the story and given circumstances, and then going through the process of choosing an action and making specific choices that will create a character.

Vocal characteristics Actors are armed with a variety of exercises to improve their vocal quality projection [ability to be heard], tone, inflections, pitch, rate and their articulation pronouncing words clearly and accurately. Conservation and build Actors learn that usually "less is more" -- they develop a sense of economy, using their ability to conserve energy and action to build to ever stronger actions.

He emphasized a pictorial style of directing -- For acting he emphasized crowd scenes and ensemble.

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In our modern age -- the industrial age needed to examine the world -- to discover the functions of things and increase our understanding of them. Acting becomes more literal and "representative" of manners and behaviors.

Approaches to Acting: Past and Present (Continuum Collection)

Konstantin Stanislavsky: Developed the "system" now known more popularly as "the method " of acting that emphasizes causality, purpose, and literal interpretation of behaviors Used Motivational Psychology championed by Sigmund Freud, who made the inner workings of the mind something we could examine and study. In the later 20th century, there have been reinterpretations and rejections of this "method. Requires an intellectual understandingUses more of an "outside-in" approachDo the action and then the feeling will follow The James-Lange Theory -- physical actions can lead to emotional reactions Emphasis on Body language-- The Delsarte System Olivier felt that the key to a character was the nose or how the character walks -- I once found the key to a character Earnest in Design for Living in how he held a cigarette--once I discovered that way of holding a cigarette, much of the rest of the character developed.

The Four Muscles of Acting - Harry Mastrogeorge

Method Internal To help actors discover the emotional truth of the character--works best with "realistic" theatre -- for which it was originally intended. Requires an emotional intelligence and understanding. Uses more of an "inside-out" approach.


Think the thought and the action will follow. The " magic if " -- What would I do if I were that character in that situation? In practice--probably a combination of both of these is best. Most actors will tell you that they veer toward "method" or "technique," but most probably use a combination of both.

Presentational: rather than "pretending" they are the character, actors "present" the character to us, almost as if saying, "Hi, this is the actor speaking, and I'm going to present the ideas of this character to you; I don't really believe I'm anything other than myself, but you can believe it if you want. Jackson On the "presentational side," arguably again: Paul Newman, Denzel Washington; Does anyone ever believe that Bruce Willis plays anything other than himself, but does it really well? A critic witty Dorothy Parker said of Katherine Hepburn in the 's that "she runs the gamut of emotions from A to B.

Next Section: Directing. Trumbull,