The theater is a spiritual and social x-ray of its time.
The term 'Method Acting' originated around 1900 with techniques pioneered
by Russian actor/director Constantine Stanislavsky. It took root in the United States through the efforts of many actors and teachers, most notably The Group Theater and the Actors Studio, both headed by Lee Strasberg.
Mainstream media caught on to Method Acting during the 1950s with the films of Elia
Kazan and the revolutionary acting styles of Marlon Brando,
Shelley Winters, Paul Newman, Eva Maria Saint, James Dean
and of course, Marilyn Monroe. (Read Martin Scorsese's recent blogpost on Rebel Without A Cause)
In the 1960s and 70s it became associated
with the work of Robert DeNiro, Harvey Keitel, Al Pacino,
Dustin Hoffman, Steve McQueen, Sally Field,
Faye Dunaway, Jane Fonda and Ellen Burstyn. Today it's often mentioned in reference to the work of Daniel Day Lewis, Sean Penn, Charleze Theron, Nicole Kidman, Kate Winslett, Johnny Depp, Bradley Cooper and Juliette Binoche.
During the 1960s and 70s over 200 Academy
award winners and nominees were members of the Actors
Studio or students of either Lee Strasberg or Stella Adler..
Other important names connected with Method Acting and Stanislavsky are Robert Lewis,
Harold Clurman and Sanford Meisner, all of whom were part of the Group Theater and inspired by Stanislavsky's personal search for truth and meaning in an increasingly industrialized world.
Method Acting has its fans and its haters. I believe acting is like rapping...one needs talent, the blues, a hero, a mentor, a lot of luck and time to practice. There ain't no paint-by-numbers 'method' that can substitute for those things. For my part, I like to substitute the words "deeply human" for the term "Method Acting".
Why the name DUSE STUDIO? Because as Dustin Hoffman said, "acting is a female art form". --Too many people don't know who Eleonora Duse was and how her genius and courage inspired Stanislavsky to try and understand the magic of great actors. Check out our mission statement for more details on who Eleonora Duse was and why her work is so important to anyone who feels the calling to become a dramatic actor.
Click here to read Shelley Mitchell's essay 'Demystifying the Method'.
Click here to check out our reference page to find out more about the people mentioned above!
"Acting is a female art form." Dustin Hoffman
"You can learn more in one of
Shelley's classes about improving yourself as an actor than
you can in a year with ACT or UC Berkeley. There is a
level of honesty and trust in her class which literally takes
your breath away. Combine this with Shelley's extremely accomplished,
astute and always constructive skill as an acting teacher
and you get, in my opinion, the best acting class in the Bay
Area." (click here for more
"...I don't think of film and theater
as very different. Acting is acting - it's all interconnected
and all coming from life in some way and going back to it." SEAN PENN
Each 3 hour class= with Shelley Mitchell covers two main areas:
• development of the actor's instrument
• scene work.
Developing the actor's instrument means having the courage to be deeply human and self-aware, having the ability to concentrate and focus with ease, and having the ability to relax and respond to emotional stimuli with ease. The techniques
I use to facilitate this are Sense Memory Exercises, Touch for Health Kinesiology, Laban movement and Comedy Method Acting.
Scene Work focuses on presenting scenes, script analysis, character development, understanding beats and grasping the author's intent.
If you would like to audit the class e-mail or call (424) 209-9822
Corporate Coaching here: ShelleyMitchellTraining.com
Rita Moreno & Shelley Mitchell photo by