Acting is Listening & Reacting

“Acting is not talking its living off the other fellow”

Sanford Meisner

The above famous quote is by the great acting coach Mr. Sanford Meisner. My name is Ashwin Agrawal & I am an acting coach. I have came across many aspiring actors, during my teaching career till now. What i see in 90 % of them is that they push, force, fake everything they are doing in the scene. May be they came across teacher who made them puppet by telling them to say the line in this manner or that manner and the student followed the instructions ,but that is not teaching that is instructing the actor to do something and the student follows up and ends up acquiring bad acting habits which they feel is right for them and they keep doing that all the time and never get the work that they desire.

But When you do a scene your attention must not be on how you are doing it & what you have to do next or how you have to say the line also if you are looking good or bad when you are doing it or focusing on bringing up the emotion. Stop doing that instead of doing that just focus on how your partner is behaving with you, focus on him/her and let them affect you, listen to your partner and just listen just be there with them & understand the meaning behind their line which you can always know by focusing on their behavior and just respond to them. And that is all you have to do just try that and see the difference in your acting. It is called giving up the control of the scene and working without pushing for the result. Remember Less is More in acting.

Ashwin Agrawal, Acting Coach

Emotional Memory

Most people, actors or not are familiar with the basic idea of emotional memory: an actor tries to relive an episode from his or her own life in order to conjure the emotional state called for in a scene or even a moment. One reason, articulated by Stanislavsky and by Stella Adler and Sanford Meisner, is that the emotional memory takes the actor out of the present moment of the scene he is attempting to play. If he is focused on something that happened years ago, he is not relating to the actors he is in the scene with. Actors everywhere understand that it’s important to be in the moment, and so this explanation of why emotional memory is problematic carries some weight.

Emotional memory deals only with the surface emotional states: I’m mad, I’m joyful, I’m worried, I’m confused, etc. It doesn’t touch the deeper layer that is the source of feeling in the superficial layer. We get mad at someone BECAUSE they are someone we count on. And have been supported by in the past. But in THIS moment he or she is failing to have our back.Letting us down or betraying us, etc.

With emotional memory, the actor has to come up with one memory for one section of the scene where jealousy is called for, and another where fear is called for, and another where arousal is called for, etc. This is an entirely inorganic process, where the actor is manipulating her own emotional state based on what she thinks the scene should look like, as considered from the perspective of the observer. It’s not a performance that arises organically from the give and take with the partner or from a connection to the essence of the relationship itself.

Published by Ashwin

Acting Coach

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