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Methods

Johan Forslund presents a few methods to use within acting when faced with challenges
© Luleå University of Technology
As an acting teacher I’m a big proponent of having a method for your acting studies. I think that it’s usually beneficial to have a clear formulated idea to start from. However, I think the most important thing is to understand what a method is an what it isn’t.

In my view the biggest virtue of a method isn’t that it answers any questions (even though it tries to and even though it might), but that it provides a structured framework for asking better questions. What I mean by that is that what any method gives us is a vocabulary for discussing the bits and pieces that make up a performance. A vocabulary that can get us beyond thinking and talking in terms of good and bad.

I first studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York where the Meisner technique is taught. And so, my thinking and teaching to a very large degree comes from that. Now, I think the Meisner technique is a very practical and useful approach to acting and I’ve seen it work time and time again both as a student and an actor myself and since then as a teacher. And there are countless of truly great actors that come from this tradition. But the same can be said for many other schools and methods. So, why should we be fundamentalists about any particular one?

Again, the most important thing is not this technique or that one, but that we create a structured framework in which to consciously try things out and learn from our experiences. And in the end, all actors create their own technique.

Another key thing to remember is this: technique is for when you’re in trouble. This is another way of saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”Sometimes you will instinctively know what to do, and then it’s perfectly fine to just go ahead and do that. Other times you will find that what you’re doing don’t quite seem to be working for one reason or another. This is when what you will learn in this course and others might be useful.

So, as you’re working on the different concepts presented to you in this course just remember that ultimately the point is not to get it right. The point is to create art.

Have you been taking any acting classes before, and if so, what methods did you use? Share your thoughts and experiences and learn from your fellow students.
© Luleå University of Technology
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Introduction to Acting

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