When I was a young, enthusiastic theatre-goer, but before becoming a professional actor, I often heard poeple — members of audiences or people who pretended to theatrical judgement or sophistication — say of some actress or other, ‘I so admire her technique.’ I never knew what they were talking about, which shamed me.

I still don’t know. When I watch, say Maggie Smith, I have no awareness of any ‘technical’ accomplishment, no perception of any wheels which may be going round; what she does just seems to me mesmeric and true. If the ‘technique’ or mechanics show, then there must be something wrong.

— Alec Guinness