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Theatrical Practitioners: Konstantin Stanislavski System

Uploaded by azurefyre on Jun 25, 2001

As an actor using Stanislavski’s system, how would you use his ideas on ‘imagination’, ‘units and objectives’ and ‘emotion memory’ in the preparation of a role?

Stanislavski’s principle theory of acting was that of psychological realism. In other words, acting should be an art that teaches an actor how to consciously produce natural action; it must teach the actor “how to awaken consciously her subconscious creative self for its superconscious organic creativeness,” and how to consciously create action that is usually subconsciously expressed as a result of conscious thought. He discovered that there is no inner experience without outer physical expression, but if an actor on stage performs only physical actions, this violates the psycho-physical union and her performance is mechanical and dead. Therefore Stanislavski protested against “mechanical” acting, exploitation of art, bathos, the art of representation, “theatricality” and the “star” system, and aimed to create a real, artistic, scenic truth by examining the psychological aspects of life by manipulating the subconscious via conscious physical action. This would ensure believability, not only for the actor but for the audience too.

In order to prepare an actor for a role so that it relates back to these concepts, Stanislavski developed a number of rehearsal and performance techniques such as imagination, units and objectives and emotion memory. These techniques were designed in order to help an actor awaken her consciences, and eventually achieve psycho-physical involvement.

Stanislavski said that “Imagination creates things that can be or can happen.” An actor must develop her imagination and learn to think on any theme; this will help the actor to adapt easily to any role. As a playwright rarely gives details of a character’s past or future, an actor must complete her character’s biography in her own mind in order to possess a greater understanding of the character’s psyche. Knowing extra withheld details about a character will give depth to the actor’s performance and will give the actor a greater perspective and “a feeling of movement in the role.” Stanislavski referred to this as “predicted circumstances”; i.e., knowing what has happened before the scene opens and knowing what will happen after the play ends.

An actor should not truthfully believe the reality of events on stage, but she should believe in the possibility of events. The “magic if” transforms the character’s aim into the actor’s aim. An actor must try to answer the question “What would I do if I...

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Uploaded by:   azurefyre

Date:   06/25/2001

Category:   Miscellaneous

Length:   8 pages (1,820 words)

Views:   2242

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