Outline Stanislavski’s ideas on ‘imagination’ and ‘relaxation’ and assess the usefulness of these aspects of the system to the actor within the rehearsal process.
In order for a performer to perform successfully Stanislavski believed that they would need to put the method of ‘relaxation’ into practice. They would also need to use their imagination, to create their characters and roles.
Stanislavski’s thoughts on relaxation were based on the idea that in order to achieve control of all motor and intellectual faculties, the actor needed to relax his muscles: ‘Muscular tautness interferes with inner emotional experience’ (AAP 96). These concerns over an actor being tense were valid because actors have been known to ‘clam up’ through muscular tension. Which links to his suggestion that only when an actor was totally relaxed, could the performance be any good.
Stanislavski believed that physical tension impairs an actor’s work. It can hamper movement and constricts the voice. The actor must be able to monitor him or herself, and remove areas of unnecessary tension. Actors should practice so that they can do this automatically. Relaxation is enhanced if you think of a purpose to your actions.
Relaxation was an important part of the rehearsal process because Stanislavski felt that it was essential that an actor was relaxed in order for their body to not betray them, and they will not then be distracted during their performance. Relaxation is a very important part of acting but especially concentration as you can not concentrate if you are thinking how stiff your legs are etc.
Imagination was also an important part of Stanislavski’s system. He believed that an actor should ‘first gather all the materials that have bearing on it (the role) and supplement it with more imagination’ (AAP). After taking into account the given circumstances, the actor should then add their imagination to their role, this helps the actor then get into the ‘shoes’ of the...
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