Lee Strasberg – Method Acting

Method Acting

What is Method Acting?

“The human being who acts is the human being who lives.”

“Essentially, the actor acts a fiction, a dream.”

  • Lee Strasberg

Those who know, know, those who don’t often come up with an unhelpful definition of what ‘The Method’ is.

In his own words, in the book A Dream of Passion, Lee Strasberg himself explains it as follows:

“The Method considers the actor as a creative artist who must translate the ideas, intentions and words of the author into a living presentation. In this presentation, the sound of the word contains not only meaning, but sensation, emotion and behaviour. A new reality is achieved…”

This is a clear definition. I’d add that in order for the actor to make a compelling presentation  it is essential for the actor to make it personal and real to her / himself.

The Actor's Reality

How they reach this reality will vary from actor to actor. The Method offers an approach and training exercises to help the actor get there.

Often, when Method acting is described, there is the assumption that the actor must be feeling exactly the same emotion that the character is going through in order for this to be deemed a ‘real’ performance.

Strasberg disagreed with this. What was important, he thought, was that the actor was experienced a real and concrete emotion during the performance. It is perfectly acceptable for the actor’s private motivation for the emotion to be different from the character’s.

An actor may find it difficult to find the emotional connection with the situation the character finds themselves in. Working in ‘The Method’ the actor will be able to connect the required character emotion with something else that they have directly experienced. In this case then the actor is able to achieve the new reality mentioned in the opening quote.

I would encourage every actor to read “A Dream of Passion” by Lee Strasberg.

The Method is not mysterious and you will not have to live life in character!

‘The Method’ offers a way for the actor to connect deeply to the character they are portraying and provide a compelling, real performance of great emotional depth.

You can find out more about the Lee Strasberg Studio here