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Joined: Jan 2001
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Having been a method actor of sorts with my Too Little Time solo "act" and band "front man", (and not being those before at all), I am thinking of trying out for a play, (once I get the script and see who I could "become"), to be in character, fully.

Without doing the expensive classes, does anyone know of any ways I could know what it actually takes to professionally perform Method Acting, on and off stage? (How far does one take it, off stage, in other words)?

I can imagine showing up and being a total a hole...while just trying to remain in character,,,NOT cool. How does one "act" around everyone before an audition, or rehearsals, and eventually for the stage performances?

HELP!
Thank you,

Johnny D

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I often thought of trying out for local plays myself. I thought I'd make a good serial killer. laugh Not sure what personal experience I could draw from on that. Maybe our key is drawing our emotions through our music. Anyway, good luck Johnny!

Best, John smile

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Ha! For YOUR role, I would think going to prisons and watching them, and even talking to them if possible would give you insight to their ways, their thinking, etc. (Do they act when around people)? How do they get prepared for their actions? Do they sweat beforehand? Are they happier in life when about to commit their crimes? Once knowing and seeing how some are, it would be easier to then act like them, in speaking tones and all else. Maybe you would pick up on how their eyes change when talking about killing. Then, you would have done the same in the moments of the acted out killings.

My first play goal is not for local though. The one in mind is for a Casino/Broadway bound one, for which I have provided music for, along with Mike Caro being in it from the start, (for him, the first 6 songs on). I came in on the 7th song through the 13th. Since I can relate to the music and songs,,,I might be able to relate to one of the characters, or learn about him, at least.

The only thing "I know" at any given time, is that once I put my mind to something, I consider it done, with just all the steps needing to be played out, (whether quickly or not), with relentless passion. I hope to gain some insight to Method Acting here, from anyone who has done it. I don't want to make it's basic mistakes in assuming anything about that method if showing up for an audition. (Like, how far does one take it, before going up, while talking to others while waiting)? Would I just hang out by myself? Or, mingle and get out of character, or stay in it? I don't have acting chops, obviously. So, I would need to depend on raw method acting.

Thanks

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I don't know what progress you've made or if you're still checking this thread after all this time...but for what it's worth. I've been acting and directing since 1976, mostly amateur, some here and there I've been paid for. In my experience "method" acting frequently gets in the way; especially for people who mostly have an understanding of it from pop culture. Far more effective in my opinion is Meisner..i.e. behaving truthfully under imaginary circumstances. It's much more frightening to do but ultimately much easier; it really cuts through the artificial layers of B.S. people frequently try to hide behind when doing "method." I think the best actors are actually doing this anyway to one extent or another no matter what technique they think they are employing. As far as coming to an audition "in character" and staying in character---as a theater director I would find that frankly ridiculous and probably a little disturbing. You would have to be damn fantastic to get cast and even then I would have reservations about what you would be like to work with. Just me as a local community theater director talking, maybe those higher on the food chain would have different thoughts.

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I can say being the youngest in my family that great actors on T.V. spring to mind. They are not method actors as much as character actors.
Actors that had starring roles like Morgan Woodward, Steve Inhat, Madeline Rhue. Maybe not as much heard of yet important in T.V.
Actors like William Shatner and much of the CSI and 24 cast took up roles in character acting.
Method acting seems more like putting on garb and rehearsing lines. There is nothing wrong with that in itself if you have that certain personality for that.

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Originally Posted by jay23
I don't know what progress you've made or if you're still checking this thread after all this time...but for what it's worth. I've been acting and directing since 1976, mostly amateur, some here and there I've been paid for. In my experience "method" acting frequently gets in the way; especially for people who mostly have an understanding of it from pop culture. Far more effective in my opinion is Meisner..i.e. behaving truthfully under imaginary circumstances. It's much more frightening to do but ultimately much easier; it really cuts through the artificial layers of B.S. people frequently try to hide behind when doing "method." I think the best actors are actually doing this anyway to one extent or another no matter what technique they think they are employing. As far as coming to an audition "in character" and staying in character---as a theater director I would find that frankly ridiculous and probably a little disturbing. You would have to be damn fantastic to get cast and even then I would have reservations about what you would be like to work with. Just me as a local community theater director talking, maybe those higher on the food chain would have different thoughts.


Wow! My method in this thread was "forgetting"! Sorry about ALL the time, Jay.

Yeah, I agree that with having to deal with someone that is STILL acting off scene would be all of what you said.

The thing I notice with most actors in film, is that they are either focused in on the eyes of who they are talking "with", or being spacey with their eyes. Maybe a combination for some. With conversation shots most times being one sided in filming takes, (not as a real conversation would be), I would think the non filmed actor would still need to be dedicated to their lines too, in all ways, so to give the filmed actor real emotion keep feeding off of. Is that correct? (assuming you still might check in once in a while too).

I think I would be too self conscience to be a good actor. I am not self conscience at all when playing music on stage, however. BUT, I think just talking or doing things would have me miles away form being as I am when doing music. I played The Spectrum and The Kimmel Center, both in Philly. LOVED every second of it! But, if having to JUST talk without a keyboard or guitar right there? I might think, "YIKES! Where's my Keys"????!

John
Sorry again for the HUGE pause. Was it a bit too much, Mr. Director! smile


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I tried acting in high school. I always thought of acting as playing completely different charachters. Down to the facial expressions and voice.
The role that would have been for me had religion and politics that I did not want to get in to.
In fact I have not taken my scant chances to musically perform because of that.

I guess John, it comes down to what feels right by you.

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The Wayans Brothers said they would go out for the day, running errands, whatever, and get into character, some imagined 'being', and stay in character all day.

You don't have to play the a--hole or extreme of anything, just stay in character, and try to be interesting. People don't like being fooled so beware going overboard with interactions with others. Don't tell them a detailed story they later find out isn't true, and are likely to be disappointed that you 'used' them this way. Just 'create' a character with a back-story motivation you can 'play'.

Julia Marlowe studied 'the business' of every character in a play, the gestures, stances, movements across the stage. She studied Shylock, trying to comprehend why he was the way he was, going beyond the play to study reality to comprehend his life situation in his time.

The actor in "Midnight Cowboy" created the character of Rico Rizzo, not a man to be envied or admired, just 'real', and won high praise for it.
(Dustin Hoffman)

I saw a movie a couple years back where an actor tried to portray a brilliant scientist who walked with a cane and spoke very rapidly. I immediately saw in his movements that he wasn't 'real', overplaying it, and couldn't understand his spluttering speech, so his words didn't work to convey the character either.

Your library has or can get books on Method Acting. A little study to expand your conception of the 'method' can go a long way to increasing your effectiveness.

Lon Chaney got roles by using makeup to make him look more like what he thought they were looking for.

Directors may speak to actors helping them define their character's motives.

Johnny Depp imagined Keith Richards, Keith's mannerisms and speech, to create his Jack Sparrow "Pirates of the Caribbean" character. I defy anyone to spot that 'method' without knowing that's what you're seeing. But it worked. Why is Jack Sparrow the way he is? Some other character explains it to another as a result of Jack's long exposure to the sun while lost at sea, if memory serves.

Jennifer Lawrence has a great facility for becoming the character. See her in several films, not necessarily the Mocking Jay series. "Winter's Bone", "Silver Linings Playbook", any third movie, to study her becoming that character. Subdued, but effective.

I remember Jack Nicholson, the actor disappearing into the character in the first Batman movie, playing The Joker.

Lawrence Fishburn, playing Ike Turner, had me hatin' on Ike Turner, "What's Love Got To Do With It", when I realized, "That ain't Ike! That's actor Lawrence Fishburn. The character wasn't hard to hate, but that the actor had stirred that emotion in me before I realized it, struck me as a well-accomplished method performance.

Last edited by Gary E. Andrews; 07/15/19 06:06 PM.

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The Method is worth exploring and understanding if you act, but people fundamentally misunderstand it when they think you need to lose completely all sense of yourself in favor of continually "being" the character. I've been there and done that, and I have been with the people who pretend they can't walk and chew gum, so they stay in character, annoying people, pretending they don't understand the reality around them because their character was born in the 1800s or whatever. Meanwhile Olivier and Streep can turn it on and off on a dime, fully in character. The Method is a way to understand how the character feels, and how to embody it, how to live out those feelings onstage. It is not an excuse to be annoying and weird when you're all having lunch.

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I wanted to charachter act and play all kinds of people in an acting class in high school. What did not seem to be as pretentious is when I reflected back to wanting to be a liar pulling a fast one. Acting is quite a bit like having to believe a lie


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