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Stanislavski's System

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Konstantin Stanislavski "All of our acts, even the simplest, which are so familiar to us in everyday life, become strained when we appear behind the footlights before a public of a thousand people. That is why it is necessary to correct ourselves and learn again how to walk, sit, or lie down. It is essential to re-educate ourselves to look and see, on the stage, to listen and to hear." - Stanislavski (Konstantin Stanislavski quotes) "Realistic" drama was said to be born in the late 1800s, however before that, no director or actor trainer had succeeded in creating a method in order to instil believability in a character through the actor. There were some actors and actresses that used their own individual talent to achieve this, but there was not a developed system or method that one could teach or even pass on to the future generation of actors. In the midst of this thirst of authenticity, Konstantin Stanislavski - actor and director extraordinaire - developed his own system over a lifetime. "When we are on stage, we are in the here and now" - Stanislavski (Konstantin Stanislavski quotes) Due to the fact that he was born into a wealthy family of merchants, Konstantin Sergeievich Alekseiv, had to begin his service to the family business, but soon realized that nothing could overpower his love for theatre. His family too shared some of his enjoyment for theatre and built him an amateur theatre in which he had his first stage appearances. His family also funded expensive vocal and stage movement lessons from Moscow's best teachers. However, his love for theatre intensified to such an extent that in 1884, he was forced to adopt 'Konstantin Stanislavski' as a stage name for his first public debut in order to hide his theatre aspirations from his family. In 1888, although he was still being forced to work in the family business, he co-founded the Moscow Society of Arts and Literature. ...read more.


I used this method to first indentify the intentions of my character behind every line, and then match those intentions with an action. This gave every action behind every line a purpose and made it easier for me to recall my emotional memory when I needed it. * Magic If The actor must connect with the character by asking how he would behave if his characters situation was real and was actually happening to him. This helps the actor think like the character and not just impersonate him. Stanislavskis' 'Magic If' and 'As If' has really helped me in my monologue as I have to imagine that I am speaking to a corpse of my best friend. Throughout the monologue, I really enjoy that I am forced to use my imagination and make-believe that a table is a casket and boxes are a deceased human being. Although I don't find it that hard pretending that I am speaking to my deceased friend, I really enjoy the challenge of making my audience believe and see what I am seeing. With more practice and more rehearsal of my monologue, I will be able to make my audience feel not only the pain of losing a friend, but also the pain of my own personal experience that I drew out to play this part. * As If o The actor should get in role and as himself what he would do if here was to be in his character's situation. This brings about convincing actions and reactions for the character. Before I first practiced this technique, I immediately told myself that I would imagine that I was at the funeral of my best friend. However, this will be hard to improvise because I just simply cannot imagine my best friend dying. It is unthinkable. Thus, I decided that I would bring back the memory of when I was at my uncle's funeral and use those emotions in the context of my monologue. ...read more.


The communists had elected his system and made the Moscow Art Theatre "the fountainhead of social realism". (Stanislavski, Konstantin) His theatre quickly began producing Soviet propaganda due to an allegiance that was being maintained between the USSR and Stanislavskis' socially conscious method of production. Needless to say, Stanislavski survived both Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917. The Stanislavski System is known to only be as good as the person who uses it. It is not something that will immediately turn a bad actor into a good one, nor will it guarantee success. The Stanislavski System is simply a serious of developments, techniques and ideologies that help the actor make use and develop his skills and talents and to gain control of his gift in order to become a better actor. Using the 'system' requires time and understanding that are not so easily summoned up these days. However, who so ever have studied and have been trained in the Stanislavski System know that it is a diligent method that requires a lot of work, but also makes seem more effortless and believable. Stanislavski always told his actors to "leave your ego at the stage door as you come in" and those who intend to follow the Stanislavski System must know that it is not solely based on the actor himself. The actor must not only develop his own talent, but must also develop a bond with his ensemble and know that a performance can only be put on when there is trust and dependence among the actors. (Stanislavski and the Actor, 149) Thus I will end with a quote from the master himself, "In the creative process there is the father, the author of the play; the mother, the actor pregnant with the part; and the child, the role to be born." (Konstantin Stanislavsky quotes) and say that one must commence on the journey that is the creative process in order to realize the true value of Stanislavski's teachings. ...read more.

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