- Slides: 39
Acting and Actuality The ‘Method’ Acting and the British Acting Tradition
1) Realist (Natural) Acting 2) The Method Acting 3) The British Tradition
Realistic (Natural) Acting • Performance > visual elements (appearance, gestures, facial expressions) and sound (voice, effects) • Good performance = Realistic (natural) performance • Bad performance = Unrealistic (unnatural) performance • Mimetic performance – historical and relative
Formalistic Acting • Formalistic acting – stylized acting in which actors act in distinctive and exaggerated styles. • ‘Stylized acting and direction is to realistic acting and direction as poetry is to prose. ’ Elia Kazan, film director • Realistic acting – natural acting in which actors mimic a real person and make him/her look real and authentic.
• Formalistic and stylized acting • Performance in silent films • Pantomimish performance – communicate through facial expressions and gestures • Metropolis (1927) 7. 00
Realist cinema can contain stylized performance. Caricaturization of unexperienced lovers in Mike Leigh’s Bleak Moments Do you want sherry?
The Method Acting • The performance style and the training system widely accepted in the New York theatre circle in the 1950 s. • Especially in the Actor’s Studio
The Method Acting • The Actor’s Studio, 432 West 44 th Street, New York
• Generally known as ‘The Method’ or ‘the System’ • An offshoot of a system of training actors and rehearsing which was developed by Constantin Stanislavski at the Moscow Art Theatre
• ‘Affective Memory’ • To portray a character’s emotions, the actor is required to recall the moment in their lives when they felt the relevant or similar emotions. • Train the actor to work from within
• Belief: • Truth in acting can only be achieved by exploring a character’s inner spirit, which must be fused with the actor’s own emotions • Identify with the character going through the same emotion as he / she goes through.
• The Actor’s Studio at 432 West 44 th Street, NY • Founded by Elia Kazan, Cheryl Crawford, and Robert Lewis • Intended to teach a refined version of ‘method acting’ developed by the Group Theatre in the 30 s.
• The Group Theatre founded in 1931 by Lee Strasberg, Harold Clurman, and Cheryl Crawford in New York
• Lee Strasburg took over the Studio in 1952 • The ‘Strasburg’ Method - to prepare an artist to feel and express the emotional subtexts of scripts • Emotional Recall
The Method Acting • Edward Albee, James Baldwin, Norman Mailer, Tennessee Williams (writers) • Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, James Dean, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Harvey Keitel, Steve Mc. Queen, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Sidney Poitier (actors)
Jack Nicholson Al Paciono Paul Newman Robert De Niro Marlon Brando Rod Steiger Dennis Hopper Harvey Keitel
Anne Bancroft, Ellen Burstyn, Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Marilyn Monroe
Stand up for Me Rebel without a Cause (1955) • Jim Stark is the new kid in town. He has been in trouble elsewhere. Here he also hopes to find the true love he doesn’t get from his middle-class family.
Terry and Eddie On the Waterfront (1954) • Terry Malloy dreams about being a boxer, while tending his pigeons and running errands at the docks for Johnny Friendly, the corrupt boss of the dockers union. Terry witnesses a murder by two of Johnny’s thugs, and later meets the dead man’s sister and feels responsible for his death.
I am not seeing him anymore Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974) • After husband’s sudden death, a widow travels with her only son in Southwest America to have a better life. Before she has a happy relation, she has a series of horrendous experiences with men.
The British Tradition • British acting traditions - mastery of externals, based on close observation • Exemplified by Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Bloomsbury, London
The British Tradition • Richard Attenborough, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) Kenneth Branagh, Michael Caine, Ralph Feinnes, Albert Finney, John Gielgud, Anthony Hopkins, Trevor Howard, Glenda Jackson, Ceila Johnson, Mike Leigh, Vivian Leigh, Roger Moore, Joe Orton, Peter O’Toole, Harold Pinter, Alan Rickman
Laurence Olivier Heathcliff Lord Nelson Hamlet Prof. Van Helsing
The British Tradition ‘I do not search the character for parts that are already in me, but go out and find the personality I feel the author created. I hear remarks in the street or in a shop and I retain them. You must constantly observe: a walk, a limp, a run; how a head inclines to one side when listening; the twitch of an eyebrow; the hand that picks the nose when it thinks no one is looking; the mustache puller; the eyes that never look at you; the nose that sniffs long after the cold has gone. ’ Laurence Olivier
• Olivier molded his characters like sculptor or painter • Makeup for Olivier: ‘If you’re wise, you always take off the part with your makeup. ’ • Mimicking dialects: ‘I always go to endless trouble to learn American accents, even for small television parts. If it’s north Michigan, it’s bloody well got to be north Michigan. ’
Vivian Leigh and Laurence Olivier That Hamilton Woman (1941) – a melodrama about courtesan and dance hall girl, Emma Hamilton and her relation with Sir William Hamilton and Admiral Horatio Nelson.
Divorce? The Jazz Singer (1980) A son of a Jewish cantor must defy the tradition of his religious father in order to pursue his dream of being a pop singer. Olivier plays a role of a Jewish American.
Daniel Day-Lewis (1957 -) • British character actor, known for versatility in the roles he play. • Modern-day Olivier but his range of roles is even wider than the master.
• My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) • Plays a role of a disillusioned, homosexual punk, who has a relationship with a former Pakistani classmate. Johnny
• A Room with a View (1985) • Plays a role of a upper-middle class gentleman who is intelligent but emotionally tight. I Promessi sposi
• Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988) • Plays a role of a young womanizing doctor, who grows more conscious of the oppressive political situation in Prague.
• My Left Foot (1989) • He plays a role of Irish Christy Brown who despite crippling cerebral palsy, learns to use his only controlable left foot and become an artist and writer. The coal scene
• The Last of Mohicans (1992) • Plays a role of a orphaned settler adapted and raised by the last of Mohicans.
• The Age of Innocence (1993) • Plays a role of an American aristocrat already engaged for marriage, who falls in love with his cousin.
• In the Name of Father (1993) • Plays a role of an Northern Irish youth, who is falsely accused of bombing a pub in England. Gerry Conlon
The British Tradition • The Boxer (1997) • Plays a role of a former IRA activist who is released from prison and opens a boxing gym to train young people.
Notch 45 • Gangs of New York (2002) • Plays a role of one of the first gangsters in Manhattan.
Baptism • There Will Be Blood (2009) • Plays a role of a silver miner turned old man, who ruthlessly quests for wealth in late 19 th California
• Nine (2009) • In this musical-romance, he plays a role of Italian film director who is tormented by lack of inspiration and women.