Because I’m usually immersed in web stuff, it’s interesting to read a text whose ideas are still relevant to its target profession 70 years on. It was mostly a more enjoyable read than I expected — it’s written as if by a student of acting, reporting on a year of training. It makes clear how much more there can be to acting than just “pretending to be someone else”. Unfortunately I kind of lost it around two-thirds of the way through, when he starts talking about transmitting “rays” to each other, and things get a bit hazy and repetitive. Maybe that stuff makes more sense when the preceding chapters have been properly absorbed and used. (Also see my notes on Sanford Meisner on Acting and Uta Hagen’s Respect for Acting.)
Note by the Translator
The author is most ready to point out that a genius like Salvini or Duse may use without theory the right emotions and expressions that to the less inspired but intelligent student need to be taught. What Stanislavski has undertaken is not to discover a truth but to bring the truth in usable form within the reach of those actors and producers who are fairly well equipped by nature and who are willing to undergo the necessary discipline.
1. The First Test
3 First lesson: turn up to rehearsals on time!
5 If rehearsal seems stilted, the same old stuff, change something: setting, privacy, mood, etc.
2. When Acting is an Art
13 Ideally an actor should be carried away in his part, by the subconscious (as long as it carries him in the right direction). But it’s impossible to control the subconscious without destroying it.
14 You must “live the part” by “actually experiencing feelings that are analogous to it, each and every time you repeat the process of creating it.”
15 “Plan your role consciously at first then play it truthfully.” “We must assimilate a psychological technique of living a part, and that this will help us to accomplish our main object, which is to create the... [continues]
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