Sunday, May 11, 2014

219 Quiz Answer


In the dramatic arts, The Method is a group of techniques actors use to create in themselves the thoughts and feelings of their characters, so as to develop lifelike performances.

(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "R" is for "real")

It happened back in the 1950s.  There was an earthquake in Manhattan.
(Odd, because they almost never had earthquakes in New York City.)  But this was a different kind of seismic event.
                                                        


A young actor named Marlon Brando was appearing in a play and was sort of shaking the earth, or at least his audiences, with a hugely different style of acting.  It was raw, vivid, real.

What was the theatre like before, say, World War II? 

Well, the art of acting in America then emphasized diction, fencing, dancing and singing.  And the business was very successful: there were a great many productions – mysteries, musicals, classical dramas and drawing-room comedies (“Tennis, anyone?”).  But in dramatic terms it was all rather weak; the school of realism of Ibsen and Zola had not impacted Yankee actors and directors.

This new type of dramatic presentation required the actors to use what was called “emotional memory.”  They had to find within themselves the means to express the emotion they were trying to portray on stage.

If the script called for a murderous rage, the actors should look deep in their pasts, into their emotional memory, to find a moment when, maybe as a child, they had felt this same murderous rage against another kid who was tormenting them.

An interesting idea.  It had literary justification.  Surely you’re familiar with Marcel Proust, who dipped the little cookie known as a “madeleine” into his cup of tea and experienced a whole world of – emotional memory.                                
                            

It was an American thing.  The great actors of the United Kingdom, Sir Laurence Olivier and others, for example, looked with amused condescension on these strange Yankee rituals.  They believed that it was training, technique and talent that made for great acting, not necessarily personal emotional involvement.
 
The story is told of a famous British actor who played a tempestuous scene and was later asked by an eager drama student what he had been thinking about during his shouting and groaning in that wildly emotional moment on stage.

“The size of the house,” he replied; “how many tickets had been sold.”

But there must have been something to the American deal.  For quite a number of years, thanks to Brando and other such stars, this was taken up by thousands of American actors who adopted this style and would take it to a point where it was a bit absurd.  They had to have time out to dig deeply into themselves before they felt they were ready to deliver their lines in a play or a film.

Starting back in the Fifties, this way of doing things got to be well known; it entered into our national consciousness.  It had a name.  What was its name?

30 comments:

Roger Owen Green said...

Not sure if you mean Method, or are you going for its adherents, such is Stanislavsky (sp?) or Lee Strasburg?

naturgesetz said...

Sounds like method acting.

Berowne said...

Roger Owen Green and naturgesetz start us off with the correct answer.

Sasha A. Palmer said...

Hi,

my answer is: "The Method" based on the system developed by Stanislavskiy including his technique of emotional recall.

Happy Sunday.

Charleen said...

So it isn't Yankee Ingenuity? That's all I can come up with.

Berowne said...

Sasha A Palmer has joined us with the right answer.

Helen said...

Method acting?

Berowne said...

Helen is with us again this week with another correct answer.

Doctor FTSE said...

I think this was "method acting," Mr.B.?

Berowne said...

Another correct answer, this time from Doc FTSE.

rel said...

Method acting?

Kathe W. said...

I think I remember it was called the "Method" via Leo Strasberg?

Berowne said...

Kathe W and rel are the latest with the correct answer.

Altonian said...

This must be the 'Method'.
A lovely story is: Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier were making a film together. On set, one day, Hoffman (a method actor) was agonising with the director on how to play a particular scene. After a long time Olivier, who had had enough by now, said to Hoffman: "Why don't you try acting, old boy?"

Other Mary said...

Is it method acting? I didn't ask google, but if I'm wrong that will be self-evident, of course. :o)

Berowne said...

My thanx to Other Mary and
Altonian, both with the right answer.

Berowne said...

Altonian also wrote the following:
>>A lovely story is: Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier were making a film together. On set, one day, Hoffman was agonising with the director on how to play a particular scene. After a long time Olivier, who had had enough by now, said to Hoffman: "Why don't you try acting, old boy?"<<

Karen S. said...

The "method approach" possibly?

Berowne said...

Another correct answer, this time from Karen S.

Hildred said...

the Method and he did it well....

ElaineLK said...

The Method.

Alabaster goddess said...

Method acting

Leslie: said...

I think that's "method acting," right?

Stafford Ray said...

It was called 'Method Acting'. But unfortunately, that realism has evaporated with most current offerings revealing actors who appear as if they are looking into a mirror to make sure their best side is to the camera!

Kutamun said...

I think this form of invocatory magic has been around for millennia and had many names ... There are countless techniques for enhancing its power ; you can make a painting or drawing of the emotion you wish to summon , you could gather artefacts that remind you of a time when you experienced this condition , some of the less wise use drugs or sexual energy to supercharge the entire experience .. Like the practice of any magic , though , you first must ask yourself " why am i doing this"... Personal gain, revenge or self aggrandisement are bound to bring sometimes awful reprecussions upon the operator .. To bring an archetypal shakespearean figure to life on a stage is a far more noble proposition , though still the operator would need to take care to find a way to return to their normal consciousness .. Sometimes an object that is keyed or associated to a different emotion could assist in this way .. In times gone by , we would have called these states of mind or emotions " angels" or " demons " , and in some exalted , desirable cases " gods " .. Evocation of a full range of same ( such as those contained in shakespeare ) can lead to an uplifting , fulfilling and highly desirable state , and churn out a pretty darn decent human being . Problems arise ( such as our time ) when some ideology or other insists we restrict our gods or archetypes to just one or few , such as " money" , "war", " self interest " ... It is said the archetypes are biological in nature , linked to the biosphere ( what else ?) and that they are one , three, seven , twelve ( zodiac of the seasons ) and seventy two ( each zodiac divided by three)
Fascinating stuff , and thanks for reminding me ...
Cheers

Berowne said...

Here are some more with the right answer: Hildred, ElaineLK, Alabaster goddess, Leslie and Stafford Ray.

oldegg said...

I think "Method acting" is what it was called.

Sheilagh Lee said...

Method acting?

Berowne said...

Sheilagh Lee and oldegg are back with us, both with the correct answer.

Tess Kincaid said...

Stanislavski's system?

 
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