Draken School of Acting
Here follows my view of acting, as in GOOD acting, for a GOOD cause.
The most important thing for a serious actor to have is imagination. The point being, being able to imagine what the character he/she is supposed to portray feels and why and - this is absolutely the most crucial detail - find it in himself.
This is the beauty of acting: by playing another character, like Hamlet for example, you end up - if you are honest and cincere and brave! - learning about yourself.
If the actor is able to find these qualities within himself then he DOES NOT LIE.
So really, the only remotely possible "manipulation" going on, the actor is doing to himself NOT the audience, although I wouldn't call it manipulation. It's more like contemplation or meditation. The actor needs to study himself and all his opinions, reactions, preconceptions, FEARS - he simply needs to get to know himself.
Personally I think getting to know myself (now speaking outside this current discussion) is what it's all about. We have ALL the answers within ourselves. Therefore to study oneself is THE best way to find Answers on a higher plane.
For sure, you will find dark corners; aspects of yourself you don't find very attractive; facets of your personality you don't want your friends to know about. But confronting one's fears and negative sides is the only way to identify the problem, transform it to something positive and move on.
This is why I think acting, when performed for the RIGHT REASON, is a way to deeper insights and the actor will not only get to know himself, but he will get to know his Self, which is inseparable from God.
This is what all GOOD Art should be about.
Three things are sacred to me: first Truth, and then, in its tracks, primordial prayer; Then virtue–nobility of soul which, in God walks on the path of beauty. Frithjof Schuon