Stanislavsky’s first experiments with acting styles, as well as the forming and running of his first acting companies, have been well documented, especially in his own autobiography, My Life in Art (1924),.
Konstantin Stanislavski (1863-1938) Father of modern acting techniques Writer of the most influential acting lessons in modern times Together with Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, he created the Moscow Art Theater (MAT) In 1898
Stanislavski’s Background Born Konstantin SergeyevichAlekseyev, into an affluent and cultured Russian family (his father was a wealthy merchant) From a very early age he began putting on small plays and musical pieces with his brothers and sisters, for family guests at his family’s estate
The Alekseyev Circle, a group of amateur players largely recruited from Stanislavski’s immediate family provided the young Stanislavski with his first school of dramatic theory Visiting actors from Moscow and from foreign companies visited the country estate and participated in the productions Stanislavski was able to learn from these actors, finding more ways to create and sustain characters
Although his aristocratic background prevented him from going professional, he did play important roles in major professional productions in his early life, assuming a stage name to avoid embarrassment for his family Two personal traits helped him as he worked to create his method style of acting: His focused study of other actors, and ability to assimilate their styles; His ability to honestly review his own imperfections and adapt himself
In 1890, Stanislavski saw a production by the Meiningen players (a German acting company) From this experience, he learned: The power of crowd scenes Importance of overall mood Value of a rigid acting discipline
Moscow Art Theatre The partnership between Stanislavski and with Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko began on June 22, 1897, after a now-famous eighteen-hour marathon discussion of the principles of the ideal theater. They determined that the Moscow Art theatre would be created, and they chose their playwright – a successful author of short stories: Anton Chekhov From this point onward, Chekhov’s name was forever linked with the Moscow Art Theatre
Moscow Art Theatre The production of Chekhov’s play The Sea Gull marked the beginning of the successful relationship between Stanislavski and the playwright
Stanisklavski Technique Stanislavski studied how people acted in everyday life, then found a way to bring this genuineness onstage . He developed a series of exercises and techniques for the actor to follow. These included the following: Relaxation: Involved removal of all tension; performer must attain a state of physical and vocal relaxation Concentration and Observation: Focus that should be placed on one object, person or event Specificity: Concrete details, rather than generalities in acting are key
Techniques Inner Truth: it is a way for characters to express, possibly non-verbally, their inner feelings. Using the “Magic If”, they can imagine how they would feel in certain situations What? Why? How?: An actor’s physical actions must link to these three questions Through Line of a Role: Continuity, or superobjective of a character; involved dividing scenes into beats; the objectives of each beat should link to develop a through line for a character Ensemble playing: the interaction of all cast members
Stanislavski Quote: "Bring yourself to the part of taking hold of a role, as if it were your own life. Speak for your character in your own person. When you sense this real kinship to your part, your newly created being will become soul of your soul, flesh of your flesh."