Method Acting: Memory of the Senses

Method Acting Moments: Breakfast Beverage

The purpose of the sense Memory exercises is activating each of your senses, one by one, exploring in great detail imagined objects, people, activities, and places. Concentration and focus are the key elements.

We use the technique to access the feelings and behaviours of our characters.

Training your mind, body, and senses helps you create a truthful presence on the stage.

Strasberg stated that actors must understand their own nature and how to respond with the senses before transforming into a character.

The work conveys the necessity of experiencing life, the world, people, and objects through the five senses: what you see, smell, hear, touch, and taste. The time and intensity devoted to practising the exercises train your concentration. The senses act as gateways to feelings, behaviours, and responses.

Reliving sensory experiences when creating a role, the actor fully breathes life into the character.

With this method, characters emerge organically and unanticipated. Each of the sensory exercises acts as a catalyst for the Actor to discover different sides of their personality, as well as to initiate new and original ideas that ultimately lead to thinking and behaving like the character.

The process of the memories experienced through the five senses is internal

The subconscious mind takes over bringing specific impulses to the surface.

The personal memories triggered through the exercises, where you explore events, places, and people from your own life, accentuate your creativity giving you a limitless range of feelings, actions, behaviours, and gestures needed for your character

The trained Actor masters the ability to start and stop emotions at will, and never be swallowed up by them In a way that they are unable to speak or respond to the other actors.

The exercises will enable you to repeatedly experience every conceivable combination of traits, habits, feelings, and actions at will

Starting with simple non-emotional and basic daily tasks and then following with more complex endeavours.

Breakfast Drink Exercise

Performing the exercise

Practising the Breakfast Drink Exercise you use each of your five senses to imagine and explore every detail you can think of about having your morning beverage in your favourite cup if you have a favourite.

It is imperative that you don’t imitate what you do with the real cup at home instead you are to re-experience the sensations afresh.

Physically imitating how you normally deal with life is a bad and very limiting habit.

The exercise is not a miming of the activity but a detailed imaginary exploration using each of the senses one by one.

You use your imagination to create a new truthful and fresh experience.

Exercise, persevere, revise, and follow-through, keep working. Allow your imagination and sense memory recall to be the perfect team for your creative experience.

Exercise steps by Step

• Begin by practising at home with the real cup and liquid for a good amount of time a half-hour to forty-five minutes. Then start with the imaginary cup for about an hour to test your senses and concentration.

• Don’t use a cup that has a particular emotional value.

• The drink should always be exactly the right temperature and the way you like it. You don’t need to mime the preparation of the drink. Imagine the drink simply appears.

• Start the exercise with the cup already full. Don’t stop because you finished the drink. Keep going for the entire duration of the time you have decided.

• Make questions about the drink: Listen to the sound of the liquid as you swish it around in the cup. Hear the scraping or clinking of the glass. How does the handle feel? What is the weight of the cup? What’s the shape of the cup and what’s it made of?

• Sip the drink. Can you feel the heat or coldness against your lips? Be aware of swallowing and the feeling as it goes down your gullet or into your empty stomach. Feel its texture and temperature against your cheek or temples like a child experiencing something for the first time with a curious and inventive nature.

Smell the drink; inhale it. Allow it to permeate through your body. Lift the imaginary cup to your face.

• The cup doesn’t always have to be in your hand. It can float in midair or be placed anywhere you like. Experiment with the cup by doing imaginary things like having the cup fly around the space or placed on your head.

• Your actions and how you experience the beverage don’t have to be logical. Anything you can imagine to do with the senses will help you stay connected and concentrated.

• After a while, you might feel that you’ve run out of things to do, or you might be distracted or bored. You will need to acknowledge this and deal with it as soon as you notice. As with any distraction, speak out the problem, make sounds, do the relaxation exercise then continue.

Actor’s comment
In the morning I’m always in a rush and make my cup of coffee on autopilot and don’t pay much attention to what I’m doing — usually thinking ahead to my whole day while I’m just gulping down my caffeine fix. I often have little spills, and the area where I make the coffee looks like a hurricane hit the kitchen when I’m through. But, when I did the exercise and drank the coffee slowly, it was incredible. I saw the whole experience in slowed-down, small, detailed actions, and it was easy to be neat and precise. Also, the anxiety about the impending day left my mind as I simply focused on the cup and its contents through the senses.

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