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Outline and assess what you consider to be the most important aspects of one practitioner's contribution to modern theatre.

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Outline and assess what you consider to be the most important aspects of one practitioner's contribution to modern theatre. Konstantin Stanislavski, the Russian theatre practitioner, revolutionised theatre by pioneering a new realistic approach to acting as opposed to the clich�d, declamatory style of overacting of his day. His work in Moscow involved setting up and directing the Moscow Art Theatre, and he was closely connected to the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov. Chekhov's play 'The Seagull' was one of the first performances the Moscow Art Theatre ever had. Chekhov's work fitted well with Stanislavski's teachings as it aimed to be a realistic, and just as Stanislavski said, 'a slice of life onstage' Three methods from his 'system' which are crucial to Stanislavski's contribution to modern theatre are; Emotion Memory, Magic If and Given Circumstances. These three methods are key for an actor's realistic portrayal of a role and allow the audience to engage in the action onstage. Stanislavski felt that whenever an actor needed to portray an emotion onstage they're should not try to invent or create an emotion that was alien to them or the performance looks false and stilted. This false emotion would get in the way of stage truth. ...read more.


We then recreate the physical reaction when desired by the character. This is a far cry from the declamatory style of Russian theatre as Stanislavski would have known it. One important aspect of Stanislavski's teaching that this method highlights is that the actors always remain themselves onstage. Stanislavski himself said that, "the moment you lose yourself onstage marks the departure from truly living your character and the beginning of exaggerated false acting." He also argues that "The broader your memory of emotions, the richer the material for inner creativity." However he concurs that no one has sufficient material for all roles so an actor must also observe other people. I think this is among Stanislavski's most innovative method in that it provides a heightened sense of realism onstage and has contributed greatly to theatre as we know it today. The next aspect of Stanislavski's system I would like to outline is Given Circumstances. The given circumstances are the starting point for an actor whenever they are given a role to play. These are the facts that cannot be altered by the actor. They include; the story of the play, events, period, time and place of action, the conditions of the characters life, costumes, props and lighting. ...read more.


For this to be effective it is vital fro an actor to be able to improve their imagination, in order to play roles further and further away from themselves. To make a character real the actor must use their imagination to fill in everything that is missing, much in the way a child would. They must be familiar with the life off stage, before and after the play, the intricate details of a characters life. Stanislavski often felt it was helpful to do "a day in the life of" your character. The actor should be fully aware of the day to day banalities of that characters existence. As Stanislavski said, "Magic If acts as a lever to lift us out of the everyday world and into the realm of imagination" On the whole I think Magic If, Emotion Memory and Given Circumstances are Konstantin Stanislavski's most important and enduring contribution to modern theatre. When an actor studies these methods they may think they are common sense and go without saying but this wasn't always the case. It is Stanislavski hard work and finely honed system that has infiltrated the modern theatre world and has allowed the Theatre to be used as a moral instrument, which can civilize, increase sensitivity and heighten perception. ...read more.

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