Why Method Acting Classes Emphasise Imagination

Posted on 1 February 2013

Imagination is a key element for any actor. To people outside of the profession, imagination would play a vital role when working with special effects and though this is true, imagination is at work at all times. Method acting classes as well as other styles work with actors to develop their imagination throughout acting courses.

Method acting classes, provide actors with exercises that utilize their imagination from the start. Actors have to be able to be comfortable at pretending to be in any kind of environment, and on occasion this environment may no longer exist, or have never existed as it is a fictional futuristic one.

It is not just because of sets and environments that imagination is so crucial to the success of any actor. If an actor picks up a prop or even pretends to have an object in his hand, the actor has to convince an audience that it is real. Method acting classes, subsequently teach this aspect of the profession, and configure exercises and courses that all hone the imagination of their students.

Despite the emotional connection method actors have with themselves, as they use their own experiences to generate real emotion for their performances, if an actor cannot appear to be natural in a given environment, or if they fail to convince that there is a person on the other end of a phone call, the game is up. This is especially prevalent in stage acting, where generating and maintaining the illusion is crucial to the success of the performance.

Imagination also helps an actor connect to a character. Many of us may not know what it is like to be a King, however, method acting classes teaches the actor the elements that make a King: Great Power, followers, wisdom, motives, and desires, which in effect make the character human, enabling the actor to relate and to portray the character in the proper light. Imagination is at work here at all times, and often it works in a sublime fashion in the background, but it is always essential to an actor giving a good performance.

Arguably, imagination is the fuel for an actor, and the other techniques taught in method acting classes, are powered by it. Generating the real emotion that sets method actors apart from other actors is made possible through the actor’s imagination.

Would an actor be able to bring fourth real emotion and deliver that emotion together with their lines and appropriate gestures without imagination?

The complexities of method acting are considerable. Actors not only have to be able to connect to emotions they have experienced in the past and recreate them for their part, but they also have to be able to analyse a character, and decide how to portray that character in any given scene. Often, the imagination of the actor will govern how convincing they were in doing that. This is why method acting classes put a great emphasis on this element of the style.

There are many elements that make a method actor. Imagination is one of the most important ones.


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