The Suzuki Method of Acting is an intense physical method of actor’s training, which originated from Toga Japan by Japanese director, Tadashi Suzuki.The Suzuki method was developed in order to build the actor’s awareness of his body, particularly energy production, breath calibration and center of gravity control. These aspects of our body are oftentimes neglected and forgotten about as we go through our daily lives, rendering them “invisible”. According to the Suzuki Company of Toga, rigorous training of our body through strength, agility and awareness, results in an “expressive potency needed to transmit the actor’s point of view”. In other words, once the actor has a total understanding and awareness of their body, only then they will be able to achieve the full experience of acting.
But what does the Suzuki training encompass?
Influenced by martial arts, Noh Theatre, Kabuki and Greek chorus, Suzuki training has physically demanding exercises involving repetitive but controlled movement such as marching, stomping, squatting as well as keeping still for extended periods of time. Actors in training will also recite monologues during these physical exercises, which attests to the immense physical control and breath control needed in Suzuki training. It also trains the actor to engage with their center, allowing them to summon up, send out and maintain energy required in performance.
The actor who has completed Suzuki training will not only have a stronger ability to produce energy, breathe and maintain balance with their center of gravity, they will also achieve a strengthened connection between these aspects of the body.
Suzuki training challenges its students physical, mental and emotional limits. The actor pushes their body, breath and consciousness (even to a certain level of torture) in their attempts to achieve perfection. However, failure is a necessity in Suzuki training. Perfection is very rarely possible but the sheer commitment brought by the actor in spite of failure is truly a freeing and empowering experience.
HCAC’s Devised Theatre Masterclass: Suzuki & Viewpoints conducted by Scott Wings will run from 14 July – 30 July, 2017!