I just got done with a workshop at a very high acclaimed theatre in Michigan. The instructors are VERY professional and know their stuff very well.
Well, I am having some kind of problem in my head and I want to get it cleared up. My instructor was explaining some methods of acting one day and one thing in particular stood out to me. He said something along the lines of, "Every character you play is you." Not literally I assume, but in the sense of bringing your emotions and experiences with you into the character. Am I right or wrong on this? Basically what I got from that days work was to respond to things the way you naturally would in those circumstances (while acting). On the other hand, we discussed method acting in another class. This is where I get confused. If he said to respond in the given circumstances how you would if you were in that situation, how does that apply to method acting? I could be way wrong on this, but in method acting, aren't you so immersed in your character that you would respond the way your CHARACTER would, and not you?
I am terribly sorry if I am making no sense, but any help would be appreciated.
He's right. Look at Denzel, Tom Hanks, Morgan Freeman, Clint Eastwood, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, and Spencer Tracy to name a few. They're pretty much themselves in everything they do, but you believe them everytime.
Even Meryl and Brando are themselves when they're not playing extreme characters. And when they played different characters a piece of their personality went ino creating that character.
JLine brought this up in another topic and is similar to what your instructor said:
"An actor, said Orson Welles, creates a truthful performance by looking into his or her own character and selectively taking things away. “There is a villain in each of us, a murderer in each of us, a fascist in each of us, a saint in each of us, and the actor is the man or woman who can eliminate from himself those things which will interfere with that truth"..Could someone break it down for me ? what does he mean by eliminating from oneself those things that interfere with truth?"
My response was:
"We're all capable of being all of those things if we let go of our personal beliefs, stop judging, and don't censor ourselves.
Meryl Streep and Michael J. Fox are totally Left winged Liberals but they have played very conservative characters convincingly ie. Margaret Thatcher and Alex Keaton. They didn't go "psssh. I'm not playing someone who's on the opposite end of the politcial spectrum."
Tom Hanks made us believe that he was gay in Philadelphia. He didn't go "I'm straight, yo. I can't play this."
Anthony Hopkins doesn't have a criminal record of killing and eating people, but we believed he did as Hannibal Lecter. He didn't go "I'd never do this in real life.""
Thanks a ton for this response. This cleared up a bunch!!
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