An Actor's Work: A Student's Diary by Konstantin Stanislavski

By Konstantin Stanislavski

Stanislavski’s ‘system’ has ruled actor-training within the West when you consider that his writings have been first translated into English within the Nineteen Twenties and 30s. His systematic try to define a psycho-physical strategy for appearing single-handedly revolutionized criteria of performing within the theatre.

Until now, readers and scholars have needed to deal with misguided, deceptive and difficult-to-read English-language models. many of the mistranslations have ended in profound distortions within the manner his process has been interpreted and taught. eventually, Jean Benedetti has succeeded in translating Stanislavski’s large guide right into a full of life, attention-grabbing and exact textual content in English. He has remained trustworthy to the author's unique intentions, placing the 2 books formerly often called An Actor Prepares and Building A Character again jointly into one quantity, and in a colloquial and readable type for brand new actors.

The result's an important contribution to the theatre, and a provider to at least one of the good innovators of the 20 th century.

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I prowled around the room, skilfully with slinking steps, between the gaps in the furniture, hiding behind the cupboard, stalking my prey. In a single bound, I sprang from cover to fall upon my imaginary enemy, represented by a large cushion. I smothered it ‘like a tiger’ and crushed it beneath me. Then the cushion became my Desdemona. I embraced her passionately, kissed her hand, which I had fashioned out of a corner of the cushion, then contemptuously flung her away, embraced her again, then strangled her and wept over her corpse.

There are tricks for specific plays and roles (the Mayor in The Inspector General4), a special way of bending the body towards the audience during asides, with the hand held in front of the mouth. All these actors’ habits have, with time, become traditional. ‘Thus, a generalized actors’ diction, as well as a particular way of delivering a role with pre-established effects, with a particular theatrical gait, and picturesque poses and gestures, was developed once and for all. ‘Ready-made mechanical tricks are easily reproduced by stock-in-trade actors with trained muscles.

My legs, my hands, my face began to move of their own accord. I had to declaim the lines. And suddenly, there, in my hands, was a large ivory paper-knife which I stuck in my belt to look like a dagger. A towel was transformed into a turban and the multi-coloured cord from the window-curtains served as a baldric. I fashioned a robe and a mantle out of sheets and a blanket. An umbrella became a scimitar. But I didn’t have a shield. Then I remembered that next door, in the dining room, behind the cupboard there was a large tray that could serve me as a shield.

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