Suzuki Training Method for Acting

Written by Ehin Gukhool

As a Theatre Studies student, I have always been interested in acting. It was a way to learn about myself by dissecting the character’s emotions and means to their actions. I would have to dig deep into my emotional memory to connect and identify with these scenes. This meant that I had to remember and look back at the fun emotions and tougher feelings of the past. From time to time, I would have to relive the painful past experiences, and tears would make their way down my face.

I had realized the importance of letting yourself feel the emotions that derive from the circumstances of life. I had to stay positive and develop skill sets to keep myself smiling. I became much more empathetic to those around me. Acting taught me how to become a more genuine person, because I had to remember and relive the pain of the past. I had gained a clarified perspective of the importance of creating fun, and good memories for the present and future.

Knowledge is useless, unless it is shared with others and put into practice. I have learned much in my life, but was about to learn even more. I had recently enrolled myself in a scene study class here at York University. Then I was introduced to Suzuki by my professor Michael Greyeyes. Suzuki is a multitude of movements that coordinate your focus, balance and unison. It is a derivative art form originated from the Japanese style traditions of Noh and Kabuki.

Michael emphasized the importance of our physical posture. We had to open our chest to facilitate breathing. Our feet were placed together with bent knees to maintain a relaxed and balanced position. Lastly, our eyes had to fixate on something far into the distance (limiting distractions). He also mentioned how in acting an actor must choose. The power of choice was explicit in our emotions and means to actions. Once we chose to be sad and/or cry, that was the emotion and action to be represented in our acting.

Suzuki is a 90-minute training session. Although the actions of Suzuki are physical, its effects are mentally and physically exhaustive. The movements will harmonize the balance of the body, the focus of the mind, and their unison. This will help the actor reach an incredible strength of concentration, which will warrant the ability to reach ones emotion.

Twice a week, I attend my class with immense pleasure to learn how to ground myself and to become a better actor. Strengthening your core will change how you feel. I find Suzuki to be a vital element for an actor to practice in order to achieve beautiful acting.

Here is a link to a video that will allow you to see how Suzuki is practiced, and an article that will give you more insight on Suzuki’s training method.