"Play well or play badly, but play truly," said Konstantin Stanislavsky, father of Method Acting, the basic technique employed in Gillian Drake's Acting for Professionals and Acting for Lawyers courses.

In other words: Be true to yourself as an actor and you will have been true to yourself. You will be believable.

You learn, says one student, a professional writer, "to let the actor in you handle a given situation. Good acting comes from the inside and flows outward, rather than coming from the outside, from artifice."

What sets Method actors -- and perhaps the professionals taking the course -- apart from actors so evident in bad movies (and on the job) is that the artifice is gone. They draw on themselves to bring the character to life, using a minimum of external -- artificial -- props.

"Method Acting," says Drake, "involves being aware. It involves all the tools of communication: body, voice, imagination, will and mind."

"You come face to face," says the writer, "with who you really are as a person." Which isn't necessarily easy for everyone. "We had one student in our class who was trying to be something she just wasn't, to project a personality opposite who she really is. When we got to the class that gets down to seeing yourself as you really are, it was terrible for her. She never came back."