If I can develop this thought I want to be able to come back. See the various strands that motivated it and then cringe at its crudeness and patterning.
I am not exactly sure where such things come from but Samual L Jackson recently brougght up the subject of British actors and in particular the perception people have of British classical actors as being better trained.
The political aspects which i think shape most of this are wrong. The emotional aspect I think may be down to stylistic diffrences (i.e. a tension between method and the classical style).
Where i think it all boils down to politics and flag waving on both sides of the pond is in seeing the classical British style as British in contrast to an American method. The underlying techniques are the same as the orgin of these is biology. So teneque and learning is the same where ever you go. The non-uneveral aspect here is style.
The consious decision to promote a classical style of Acting in Britian dates to the pre-war period and a sense of anxiety among the leading classical actors of the day that British theatrical traditions were being lost. Headed by Laurence Olivier a small goup of actors associated with the Old Vic theatre set about establishing the funds to open a school dedecated to the classical style and British technique.
In terms of teaching one of Laurence Oliviers decisions here has had a considerable inpact on what the classical style is and what it would become. He appointed Rudi Shelly as the schools dancing master.
For generations of classical actors the classical tradition is easy to embody. Its 78, about five foot two or three and speaks with a very distinct German accent.
Nazi persecution ensured that artist and performers fled bringing ideas and methods to the rest of Europe and America. Craft of Acting in both these countires was seriously influenced by the observations of these individuals and the fusion of ideas that occured in Germany in the 1930’s.
Flag waving here may make us feel good but I don’t think it says very much about what we are and where we come from.