Both show that method acting can have a

Both Stanislavski and Grotowski theories are based on the fact that one must strengthen their subconscious mind in order to break free from their conscious mind without “thinking twice.” Although the act of breaking free from your conscious mind could result in many different kinds of psychological diseases. Psychological diseases or mental illnesses often involve the mind manipulating parts of the brain that control aggression (National Institutes of Health, 2007), as well as other emotions which could lead to damaging your subconscious processes (Giampieri-Deutsch 2002). Mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder can be side effects of sleep deprivation (Miller, 2015) which could be caused by the unresolved emotions that actors have to call upon during method acting. This happens quite frequently when actors “create dissonance between their actions and their actual feelings.” (Grandey, 2003). To create dissonance in this sense is to create inconsistency between their ( the actors ) actions and what they feel. Hamden (2010) claims that the problems seen in method acting mostly come from the incapability of actors to compartmentalize the emotions of their character from their own in daily life and personality . The use of method acting for training and character development does not come without consequences. There has been evidence to show that method acting can have a serious effect of actors mental and physical as I will demonstrate later. You have to be careful when using your own emotional memories to create a more realistic performance. There is such thing as going too far. For example, if an actor was trying to portray a character who experiences a moment similar to one of the worst moments in their life, such as mental or physical abuse they have experienced, it may not be safe to use that moment to motivate the scene as it might take an extensive amount of time to re-recover from it. Grotowski’s and Stanislavski’s methods can be draining on the brain over time as actors are often found “losing themselves” within a role and sometimes not able to find their way back (Burgoyne, Poulin and Rearden, 1999). The potential of this interesting phenomenon going on within actors is what motivated me to explore this subject.To what extent has the use of Stanislavski and Grotowski theories on actor and character development declined over the past decade due to the psychological effects it can cause?I chose to study the decline of method acting as I personally believe that some of the most truthful performances in theatre have been created consistently by actors who studied under the aforementioned circumstances using these theories. Method acting or rather Stanislavski’s based systems, have remained the basis for most modern training. Investigating further into if there is a correlation between the use of method acting and the development of mental illness could invite some interesting results. Although many actors still use and train with the theories presented by Stanislavski and Grotowski, the knowledge of what can happen to the mind and body is becoming much more apparent.The Theories The theories created by Stanislavski and carried on by Grotowski, are a culmination of physical actions as well as mental and emotional exercises. These actions and exercises allow the actor to access their subconscious mind and relive past experiences or step deeper into the life of the character they are trying to portray. There is some variation between Stanislavski and Grotowski theories but the main goal stays the same between the two; reach into your subconscious and create an emotionally truthful performance. Stanislaskis system is coined as the “art of experiencing.” To be able to  reach less-controllable psychological processes such as emotional experience and subconscious behaviour, the actor must find motives for their actions and what their character would be seeking to achieve at any given moment. One of Stanislavski’s most renowned mental tools is the “magic if.” The premise of this exercise was get the actor to investigate further into their character and find out new information about them that wasn’t described in the text. When using this tool, actor’s merely asks themselves a ‘what if’ question about their character. This kind of exercise invites the least amount of psychological damage for the brain as the actor most likely is not breaking into their subconscious thought. Stanislavski preached that acting should never be done “generally” and all physical action done on the stage should be done with  purpose. “On the stage do not run for the sake of running, or suffer for the sake of suffering. Don’t act in ‘general,’ for the sake of action; always act with a purpose.” ( Stanislavski, 1948, pg 34 ) Stanislavski elaborated on his system by creating a more challenging rehearsal process that involved physical actions that was later known as the “method of physical action.” The method encouraged an ‘active analysis’ of the role, in which the sequence of a dramatic situation was all improvised. (Benedetti, 1999) In Stanislavski’s words, “The best analysis of a play is to take action in the given circumstances. For in the process of action the actor gradually obtains the mastery over the inner incentives of the actions of the character he is representing, evoking in himself the emotions and thoughts which resulted in those actions.” (Stanislavski, 1948, pg 55 ) In other words, to put yourself in the actual situation having no written script, you understand the emotions and thoughts your character would have in the given situation.Stanislavski created the theory of emotion memory, where one must recreate the the emotions felt during a memory they have. This skill of creating emotions and allowing your subconscious take over allows for the audience to watch a much more raw, intimate performance as the actor is producing something genuine. “That type of memory which makes you relive the sensations you once felt when seeing Moskvin act or when your friend died, is what we call in emotion memory. Just as your visual memory can reconstruct an inner image of some forgotten thing, place or person, your emotion memory can bring back feelings you’ve already experienced. They may seem to be beyond recall, when suddenly a suggestion, a thought, a familiar object will bring them back in full force.”  (Stanislavski, 1948, pg 158)Although effective, emotion memory needs to be controlled or an actor could lose themselves within their own emotions whilst they are supposed to be feeling those of the  characters. Thus taking away the actual acting. Reliving old memories, traumatic or not, could be triggering for some actors which in turn can then cause an emotional scar to reopen which can be extremely difficult on an actor’s mental health.Grotowski thought that Instead of ‘learning methods of acting’ he believed that the actor should be equipped with fundamental techniques that aid in removing the “luxuries” of the performance and only present an essence of it. Within Grotowski’s book Towards a Poor Theatre he defines two concepts: Poor Theatre and Performance as an act of Transgression. Poor theatre is defined as ‘That the Aesthetics of the performance are taken away.’ This was also referred to as Via Negativa or taking away what was not essential. This concept was one of the main and most important lessons that Grotowski taught. Grotowski mentions several times throughout the book that the theater could still exist without aspects such as lighting, costumes, music, set and text. Be that as it may, the theatre could not exist without actors and an audience (Grotowski, 1968). The concept of “poor” theatre was created and performed with very little to no elements of production which left the actors to be the primary focus and left the audience with very little chance of being distracted by anything else on stage. This was exactly Grotowski’s insertion, as it exposed the actors at their most raw and genuine versions of themselves. Acting in the style of Poor Theatre places emphasis on the physical skill of the performer and uses props for transformation into other objects, sometimes of great significance.Grotowski made the actor’s voice and body central to the performance. The performance area became an very intimate space that would split off in varying ways to allow the most amount contact between the performers and audience. Grotowski was constantly working to develop physical and emotional responses so that ‘impulse and action are concurrent’ ( Grotowski, 1968, pg 31). He moved beyond the early influence of Stanislavski towards a more intense ‘ritual’ of actions and voicework. Grotowski’s theories were more physically focused than Stanislavski’s and all of the exercises presented in Grotowski’s Towards a Poor Theatre are to train the actor’s voice and body until it reaches its peak condition. The Corporal and Plastiques are a series of exercises developed by Grotowski and other key partners in Grotowski’s research at the theatre laboratory. The plastiques is an exercise used to train an actor through a series of strenuous postures, gestures and tumbles that help induce psycho-physical awareness (Kalin, 2007). Furthermore, plastiques focuses on working with tension within the body by working with each part of the body separately. Corporals is closely linked to the plastiques and share similar purposes, but Corporals involves the whole body all at once instead of isolating specific parts. Both Stanislavski’s and Grotowski’s theories try to get actors to evoke realistic emotions into their performance by drawing on personal experiences. Just like the physical aspects of these theories, the mental aspect of method acting could also be trained to reach a peak condition. Stanislavski’s mental outlook for his method was for an actor to catalyze their conscious thought and will in order to activate other, less-controllable psychological processes. Grotowski, when creating his theories using physical action also wanted to exercise the mind and soul. The imagination used in both Grotowski’s and Stanislavski’s theories are directly linked to physical actions. If the actor has a more vivid and wild imagination, they can then create a much more specific action to correlate and can therefore create a more emotional reaction to said action. The imagination is used mostly to enhance or help the actor connect to their personal experiences.