• March 22, 2013
stanislavski All Tickets Theatre Speak
Stanislavski, who created the Method, in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard.

All Tickets is fascinated with the process of acting. After all, when your group gets discount tickets for a Broadway show the primary aspect you’re looking forward is the acting.

Actors are trained in various ways. In the U.S. one of the most popular acting approaches in the Stanislavski System, which is also called the Method. There are many different versions of the Method and many famous acting teachers have created their own versions of it. We won’t be teaching method acting here, but we are taking a look at some of the theatre speak that actors use.

What’s My Objective?

Objective, demanded objective and motivation are all words that mean the same thing to an actor. A characters objective is what they want and it’s described as an action using the infinitive form of the verb and with the pronoun “I.” Using “I” instantly connects the actor to the character. As an example, if I’m playing Willie Loman in “Death of a Salesman” I might state his objective in the following manner:

“I want to be successful.” (That’s one take on Willie, here’s another.) “I want to be loved by Biff.” Objectives are dependent upon many things, including the script and how it is interpreted.

A young Marlon Brando took Broadway and then film by storm using the Method.
A young Marlon Brando took Broadway and then film by storm using the Method.

The Given Circumstances

One of the actor’s jobs is to figure out what’s called the given circumstances of the play. What that means is the actor has to know the period, season, time of day, place, atmospheric conditions including weather, where they are coming from just before they enter the setting on stage, what just happened to them before they entered, etc. Overall, given circumstances are usually related to something that is specifically told or fairly explicit in the play as it relates to the physical being of the character.

Figuring Out the Throughline

Lee Strasberg Method Acting
Lee Strasberg utilized the Method at the Actor’s Studio.

A character has an objective and the route they take in trying to achieve that objective, the steps they take, make up what’s called a character’s throughline. The throughline though connected to the plot of the play is NOT plot. It’s the different actions a character takes to attempt to reach their objective. Together these actions make up the character’s throughline.

More to Come

We will feature more theatre speak as it relates to actors in an upcoming blog. Some the terms we will look at include the Magic If, sense memory and emotional recall.

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