method acting w/anatoly *
Acting is the expression of a neurotic impulse. It's a bum's life. The principal benefit acting has afforded me is the money to pay for my psychoanalysis. ~ Marlon Brando An actor is only merchandise. ~ Chow Yun-Fat Shrew04
* Shake 2004: Bianca Story
Film Acting *
Actors ought to be larger than life. You come across quite enough ordinary, nondescript people in daily life and I don't see why you should be subjected to them on the stage too. ~ Donald Sinden Angura


Fall 2003 updates are @


I don't that I can cover all five parts in Five Approaches to Acting, but 1. Getting to the Task (Stanislavsky), 2. Playing Episodes (Biomechanics & Epic Theatre), 3. Building Images -- maybe.
Part IV. Inhabiting the World of the Play and Part V. Telling a Story -- for Acting II?
Method: Yoga & Freud


I have to explain the difference between actors and acting * In Greek mythology, Actor was the father of Menoetius and Astyoche. He was king of Opus in Locris.

Unfinished business from Acting One: "Who is your favorite actor?" I ask. The answers are so generic, they could apply to any and all of them ("uniques, creative, dramatic" and etc.) "What is his/her secrect?" I ask... They behave as customers, not the cooks. Appriciation instead of practice! I need the secret recipes by the star-actor (how else they became "starts" if nor the novelty of their products). Silence. "Don't you understand, I want to know, so I can repeat it, do it by myself?" I need it, I have to develop my own secret formulas and tricks...

Alfred Hitchcock: Well, for me, it all starts with the basic material first. Now, the question of when you have the basic material... you may have a novel, a play, an original idea, a couple of sentences and from that the film begins. I work very closely with the writer and begin to construct the film on paper, from the very beginning. We roughly sketch in the whole shape of the film and then begin from the beginning. You end up with around 100 pages, or perhaps even more, of narrative, which is very bad reading for a litterateur. There are no descriptions of any kind - no 'he wondered', because you can't photograph 'he wondered.'

AH: The method actor is OK in the theatre because he has a free space to move about. But when it comes to cutting the face and what he sees and so forth, there must be some discipline. I remember discussing with a method actor how he was taught and so forth. He said, "We're taught using improvisation. We are given an idea and then we are turned loose to develop in any way we want to." I said "That's not acting. That's writing." And that is why method actors today always turn up on set with a new script.

mini-Chekhov05: Schiele-Lady
M. Chekhov -- Acting One

Vasiliev: Последние годы я стал разрабатывать метод, который позволял бы инициативу от режиссера передать актеру, разрешал бы актеру стать автором своей роли. На первых порах мне удавалось, но у этого прекрасного начинания оказалось свое трагическое завершение. В конце концов актер -- автор своей роли, превращается в актера -- анархиста своей роли. Режиссер теряет управление труппой и -- навсегда, причем чем выше мастерство актера-анархиста, чем выше его превосходство, тем больше он настаивает на безоговорочной самостоятельности. Когда все звезды самостоятельны, очень трудно удержать в мире эту карту звезд, невозможно. Свобода для актера приводит к разложению его личности.

Michael Chekhov

In my . . . admiration for a great actor I attempted to imitate him. . . . This has its good and its bad side: copying a great example can train you in a good pattern, but it also checks your individual creativeness. . . .I was only repeating what the other person had experienced in his emotions. . . . Since my imitation was purely external . . . I strained myself physically to produce feelings. . . . Finally I realized the simple truth that such an approach to a part can never produce the image [of a character]. --My Life in Art * Stanislavsky

2006: Beckett Year!
System wikipedia

Great Actors & Spectators

Actors must remember their origins, they should remember that they came from the house. The 4th Wall? It's an illusion! To focus, to concentrate the action.
The secrets of great acting in expressed spectatorship. The yoga cross points at the oppisites: willing -- thinking, sensing -- feeling. In addition to the opposition of will-thought -- sense-emotion.

Would it be better to position the vertical (intellectual) as the Apollo line and the horizontal as the Dyonisus (emotional) line?

But "sensing" is the opposite of "feeling"?

In Biomechanics I stress the notion of e-motion: feeling is nothing less than potential energy (of motion). What is sensing?

... In another of his books on acting and playing, "An Actor Prepares," Stanislavsky held that "in our art you must live the part every moment that you are playing it, and every time." In order to accomplish this aim he evolved his "psycho-technique" for the release and free play of proper inspiration, which has its sources in the subconscious mind. He made it impressively clear that an actor who is to be prepared in this manner must have an excellently trained physical and vocal apparatus. His body and his voice, according to the director, must respond to the creative work of his emotions "with precision."
I wish I could propose a new course required for theatre majors -- The Basics of Spectatorship. After all, all theatre "professions" start there. Spectator is a theatrical innocent lover...

Spectator is the beginning of THEATRE, he is the creator of the show...

You don't believe me?

But of course! There is not a single decent book on the subject! I mean, theory of it (not the textbooks on theatre appreciation).

I am sure somebody will write this book one day. The new Virtual Theatre will make this old secret too visible. You, the spectator is about to be in control of the spectacle...

I see, you do not know it yet.

Well, you are in control of ANY show. Peter Brook calls it dead theatre, when public is not the theatre.

What do you think you paying for?

To see, to watch?

No! To write, to act, to direct!

Listen. I got three expressions: looking left, looking right and looking straight ahead. -- Robert Mitchum
The most important thing in acting is honesty. If you can fake that, you've got it made. George Burns

See Acting classes: THR121 Fundamentals of Acting, first. Intermediate and Advanced @ Classes Gateway Page. Theatre is about ACTORS. Director and playwright are there only to serve them.

Stage = Event. An act. An ACTION...

Without it (ACTOR) the whole process is useless. Actor is the end of this road between thought and feelings.

Read about spectatorship to understand it...


Since I teach both film and theatre, I have to state it upfront -- only stage produces trained actors. Acting profession always will stay there.

In the twenties Eisenstein developed theory which name is know as "typecasting."

Camera and director have some much artistic powers on the screen they do not have to depend on actors and acting. We can make everything "act"!

Life performance is where actor is the king.

What does make a good actor?

Here again we have to remember the situation of life show -- the public. The sense and communication with them, all and each one of them -- actor's mode.

The great actors are not known to masses...

Stanislavsky: «An Actor must work all his life, cultivate his mind, train his talents systematically, develop his character. He may never despair and never relinquish his main purpose - to love his art with all his strength and love it unselfishly».

Jung: "An inflated consciousness is always egocentric and conscious of nothing but its own existence. It is incapable of learning from the past, incapable of understanding contemporary events, and incapable of drawing right conclusions about the future. It is hypnotized by itself and therefore cannot be argued with. It inevitably dooms itself to calamities that must strike it dead" Biomechanics [ THR321 Advanced Acting -- Spring 2006? ]

Bergman80 I plan to post the closeups (film); to illustrate the combination of Method and Biomechanics techniques in acting for camera.

Each acting directory has new pages "Film Acting" (I, II, III).


Actor as Active Spectator! Aggresive!

Homework: "My favotite movie actor" in your journals... and justification. Explain his/her secrets! Yes, yes, the good ones have them -- and you should uncover them in order to use by yourself!


I feel bad that I do not write about the historial background of the Method Acting. Here is the short timeline:
Turn of the Century -- Moscow Art Theatre is born.
1900s -- Russian Silver Age (Chekhov dies in 1904).
1917 -- The Bolshevic Revolution and Meyerhold's "Red October" with anti-realiastic manifestos of the new Worker's Art.
End of the 30s -- developing and teaching principles of Stanislasky System. Bulgakov's plays.
1934 -- The establishing of the Socialist Realism and the making the Moscow Art Theatre into the main institution. Stanislavsky's books. Meyerhold is arrested and shot.
1940 -- Stanislavsky dies. Some of his students made to America teaching "Method." The Group Theatre.
Late 40s -- The Actors Studio in NYC, Strasberg. Sound forced some acting on the Hollywood. The first generation: Brando and so on.
60s -- establishing Theatre Departments everywhere amd mass teaching of the Method. Rehabilitation of Meyerhold in the Soviet Union.
1980s -- Perestroyka and the split of the Moscow Art Theatre. Film Departments in USA and teaching the third generation of the System (Acting for the Camera).
Present -- revision of the Stanislavsky's heritage.
Future -- the end of confusion between theatre and performance art. Virtual Theatre

"The highest and final aim of every true artist, whatever his particular branch of art, maybe defined as the desire to express himself freely and completely." Michael Chekhov Michael Chekhov 'To the Actor' "I don't want people to know what I'm actually like. It's not good for an actor." -- Jack Nicholson The only way to see the value of a play is to see it acted. Voltaire Playing to the camera : In film and television acting, you often don't have the luxury of a live audience giving you feedback of any kind. Instead of a theater full of people, your audience is just a camera, the camera operator, the director, and any sound, light, and makeup technicians who happen to be standing around at the time. This means that you need to use your imagination and pretend that the cameraman staring at you is actually your long-lost lover, or that the stern look on the director's face is actually the friendly face of your best friend. When you play to the camera, you have to project emotions to the unblinking eye of the camera.
The Possessed 2003 (read the novel)