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What Is Method Acting?

Method acting, otherwise known as The Method, is an acting technique that is employed by many actors. Method acting is widely considered as a revolutionary technique that has changed the art of acting. The Method is the direct opposite of the "wooden" actor and it employs sense and memory in order to give realism to a performance. Actors who follow the Method employ their own emotions experienced in their past so that they can give an added depth to their acting.

Method acting is considered and American form or technique, but in actuality a Russian developed it. Konstantin Stanislavski, a Russian theater director, developed the technique and wrote books on the Method in the 1930s. At around this time, one of his students, Richard Boleslawsky, opened his acting school in New York. In the school, Boleslawsky taught Stanislavski's acting principles.

Method acting became more popular in the 40s and 50s when acting mentor Less Strasberg began teaching the Method at the Actor's Studio in New York. The Actors Group, another school based in New York, also used the Method as its teaching philosophy. Stella Adler was the coach in the school.

The work of actors like Marlon Brando and James Dean, both Method practitioners, also contributed in the further growth of the Method among other actors. Brando's and Dean's performance were considered breakthroughs in the craft because of the raw emotion and sensitivity that they bring in their performances. Other Method actors who have gained popularity and respect for their talents include Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Paul Newman.

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