I got sick in May and ended up binge watching, “The Good Wife.” This is how I came to meet the character of Eli Gold, played by Tony award winning actor Alan Cumming. I couldn’t help but notice his extraordinary “use.” Eli rants and raves with joyous verve without ever jutting his chin forward (the most common form of actor misuse). And, the way he floats lightly from sitting to standing is almost hilariously textbook Alexander Technique.
In this mash up, you can see that the madder Eli gets, the more he lengthens up. And at 1.09, that classic Alexander “tell”, he rises out of a chair without pulling his head back. If you can make it through to 3:21, you can see that he uses his cell phone without compressing his neck.
Google confirmed my suspicions. Yes, Alan Cumming is a big Alexander Technique fan.
I will hasten to say that for most performances, you should never be able to directly see Alexander Technique training. Ideally, you should only see the results — acting that looks effortless and natural. The breath and voice are free.
I believe Alan Cumming is using the extra upright stature that Alexander Technique can provide to create Eli Gold’s physical signature.
Here’s a much less uptight but equally effortless performance: “Mein Heirr” from Cabaret.