Stanislavski and ‘The Method’
“To become a successful actor one must erase personal experience and emotions and build their character from nothing.” – Lee Strasburg.
Konstantin Sergeyevich Alexeyev was born in Moscow, Russia in 1863. He was first seen on stage at the age of seven and at the age of twenty-one he changed his stage name to Konstantin Stanislavski. He was founder of the first acting “system”, co-founder of the Moscow Theatre (1897), and a renowned practitioner of the naturalist school of thought. In 1987 he also met Russian playwright, Anton Chekov. Stanislavski’s process of character development, the "Stanislavski Method", was the means for method acting. It was, and still is, the most influential acting system on the modern stage and screen. After enrolling at Moscow’s Drama School, he left after three weeks of not being satisfied with the training. Back then, rehearsals were very casual. Actors would walk on stage and deliver their lines with the text in front of them. There was no attempt in making the acting a reality. He felt the need to change theatre and thought that it was important that the actor’s skill should involve more than shallow techniques. The acting needs to have genuine feeling. To give the audience feeling we must first create the feeling for ourselves. This is why personal experiences are important as they possess what we have felt in the past, present and future. We can re-collect emotions such as happiness or sadness and use these to act with feeling and convey a message to the audience. Humans have many emotions that they mask at one time. In class, students are shown experiential learning. Methods and activities such as; Emotional recall and Lady Macbeth (Act 1, scene 7) can help actors create appropriate actions, thoughts and emotions for certain characters or scenes. In emotional recall, students were to recall something, where at that moment their lives changed or made them feel something they would never forget....
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