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Stanislavski and the Stanislavski System of Method Acting.

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Introduction

Stanislavski and the Stanislavski System of Method Acting Konstanin Stanislavski was a Russian actor and director who challenged traditional notions of the dramatic process, establishing himself as a pioneering thinker of modern theatre. He coined phrases such as 'stage direction', laid the foundations of modern opera, gave exposure to important playwrights and co-founded the Moskow Art Theatre in 1897. He was a revolutionary, protesting against the old manner of acting and against the traditional arrangement of plays. The most significant of his achievements was his development of a successful 'system of method acting'; a way to teach, practice, correct and monitor the 'method': a pragmatic way of acting that created and acknowledged the internal motivations and feelings of a character, leading to a realistic performance. ...read more.

Middle

beginning only by acknowledging themselves and a few props nearby, and then 'expanding' the circle to include the entire set and other thespians. This is a successful technique for focusing concentration and eliminating self-consciousness, as the circle is never widened to include the audience. Stanislavski believed passionately in attention to detail. He recognised that emotions are complicated, and that a good actor should portray feeling such as love, grief and hate with specific nuances... physically expressing emotional stress or elation in a focused way. An angry character, for instance, could throw down a newspaper or scrunch a piece of paper into a ball in his fist, or a nervous character could tap frantically on a table. This should be part of the actor's search for 'inner truth': an absolute conviction in the world his character inhabits and a credible projection of their internal thoughts and emotions onstage. ...read more.

Conclusion

This would require a connection between the content of the scene and the actor's own experiences, so as the teacher himself put it - 'The more an actor has observed and known, the greater his experience... ... the clearer his perception of the inner and outer circumstances of the life in his play and in his part'. Stanislavski detailed his ideas in three books; 'An Actor Prepares', 'Building a Character' and 'Creating a Role'. In his later years he abandoned the emotional memory techniques, deciding they were psychologically unhealthy, and created a new theory known as the 'Method of Physical Actions'. This is a total reversal of his previous work with a psychophysical basis. Today, a variant of the system is still followed by method actors. Their technique is based on Lee Strasberg's interpretation (or, perhaps, misinterpretation) of Stanislavski's original theories of sense-memory recall. The method is revered and followed by Hollywood actor Dustin Hoffman, among others. ...read more.

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