One of the things I enjoy about my avocation of mentoring aspiring actors is how much about acting I am learning in the day by day process. For example, I have long been against improvisation for actor training. Recently, however, I heard a well known acting teacher explain why improvisation is good for actors to learn.
As early as about one month ago, I wrote a post on this blog about Overcoming Inhibitions. One of the points I made was that in order to be an effective actor one has to get out one's head. In other words you can't think about what you are doing, you have to keep your mind clear to receive the stimuli in the scene so you can react to it fully and without inhibition. Well, it turns out that improvisation is terrific exercise for an actor in getting out of his head. Improvisation requires that the actor respond instantly without thinking about it And this instinctive response is exactly what Meisner and Adler and other famous acting teachers meant by being in the moment.
Giving an immediate, unplanned and instinctive response is exactly what today's advocates of
'non-acting' want actors to do. Haveing heard the instructor explain how improvisation trains the actor to do exactly that, I have changed my point of view. I now fully endorse improvisation classes for aspiring actors