How Did Stanislavski Contradict The Art Of Theatre

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How Did Stanislavski Contradict The Art Of Theatre



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STANISLAVSKI TECHNIQUES.

In fact, Stanislavski's life had been a series of paradoxes. Born Konstantin Sergeievich Alexeyev, the scion of a wealthy merchant family with interests in fabric, Stanislavski he changed his name to avoid the obloquy that a career in the theatre might have brought on his family was fascinated by acting from his earliest days, though he was always troubled by a certain self-consciousness, except, he noted, when imitating other actors, and then, he said, he was just plain bad. He acted enthusiastically with his fellow amateurs in the group known as the Alexeyev Circle, which he had founded when he was 14; he directed the plays and invariably took the leading role.

Thanks to his insistence on the highest levels of presentation bankrolled by his family , the group was a great success, and Alexeyev, as he still was, was prevailed on to become the head of one of the imperial dramatic schools. While there, he met Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, who was running a school himself. The meeting at which they discussed the possibility of founding a theatre company lasted 18 hours, ending at Stanislavski's house just outside Moscow the next day. Nemirovich-Danchenko, a highly cultured man, sophisticated and worldly wise, had written several successful plays; Stanislavski was something of a naif, with poor literary judgment and little social ease. Despite differences in background and temperament, they found themselves in such intense accord on every topic concerning the faults of the Russian theatre and the remedies for them, that the theatre they had convened was born there and then.

The question of division of labour within what they decided to call the Moscow Art theatre was answered by the formula suggested by Stanislavski and was, subsequently, troublesome: he was to have responsibility for form, Nemirovich-Danchenko, content. Their first production, a historical epic by Alexei Tolstoy, was a success, largely due to the painstaking research undertaken for the costumes and set. Subsequent productions were less successful, including a Julius Caesar with Roman costumes and settings of impeccable archaeological credentials but that never came to terms with the play. Several productions were cancelled because of problems with the censor.

The men quickly came to the point where they had to either have a huge success or sink forever: Nemirovich-Danchenko proposed that they perform a play that had flopped at its premiere, The Seagull , by short-story writer Anton Chekhov. Somewhat against his will — he neither liked nor understood the play — Stanislavski agreed. When the time came to stage it, he withdrew to his dacha, sending his elaborate mis-en-scene back to Moscow page by page, while Nemirovich-Danchenko rehearsed the actors — minus Stanislavski, who was playing the crucial part of the writer, Boris Trigorin.

Eventually he returned, the play opened and was a huge success. Stanislavski's flair for creating atmosphere had resulted in an entirely new theatrical experience, in which the voices and characters were elements in an embroidery of sounds of nature and daily life, while the action was broken up to create the maximum poetic effect from the pauses and disjunctions of household routine; great ingenuity was exercised in filling these pauses with physical actions that would justify them. A hypnotic effect, a mirage of real life, was created: not strictly naturalism, but a poetry of the everyday.

The production's success saved the theatre, which thereafter adopted the symbol of a seagull as its mascot. The author, however, though pleased his play had been liked especially in comparison to its disastrous first production in St Petersburg was far from happy with the staging, later ribbing Stanislavski by saying in his earshot that his next play would be set in a country where there were no crickets or mosquitoes to interrupt people trying to make conversation. Chekhov felt, too, that Stanislavski had misconceived the character of Trigorin. This was a recurring theme in Stanislavski's career, both as director and actor: he had a habit of mentally substituting another play and another character, drawn from his own imagination, for the play and the character the writer had actually written.

His literary sense was always poor; he was not an avid reader. Indeed, according to Nemirovich-Danchenko, he was technically dyslexic. He had great difficulty with words learning them, even speaking them ; off stage, too, he was famous for using the wrong word or for not being able to remember the one he needed. To what extent this influenced the development of his system, which often seems suspicious of language, is an interesting question. Stanislavski was impelled to develop his system because of his dissatisfaction with the work he and his fellow actors were doing in the repertory that succeeded The Seagull : the three remaining plays of the Chekhov canon, Uncle Vanya , Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard , and the first plays Maxim Gorky wrote for them.

Stanislavski felt the company's acting — his own as much that of his fellow players — remained painfully self-conscious and imitative; it lacked the pure "truth" he conceived of as the prime object of the actor's art. From his earliest years, he had been plagued by the sense of self-consciousness: tall, handsome, graceful, intelligent, he was everything but spontaneous. Nemirovich-Danchenko describes what a favourable impression Stanislavski made on him at their first meeting: how serious, how thoughtful, how unlike an actor he seemed, neither loud nor vulgar nor self-promoting. The impression above all was of naturalness; the result, Nemirovich-Danchenko observes, of many hours practising in front of the mirror.

By all accounts Stanislavski was richly endowed by nature to act. Throughout his autobiography, My Life in Art , however, he frets about not having been a great actor. It's clear that if he had stopped thinking about it for a moment, he would have been. He saw this in himself, and attributed it to his fellow actors. There are explanations in English in each room. Stanislavsky is in the row just behind Chekhov. There are three theaters named here after him and — more importantly — his techniques, aimed at producing psychologically convincing characters on the stage, have never gone out of fashion.

Originally published in The Moscow News. This post originally appeared on Russia Beyond on January 17, and has been reposted with permission. This post was written by the author in their personal capacity. Your email address will not be published. View Newsletter Archives. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. You Might Also Like. Leave a Comment Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Like Us On Facebook. Search for:. Subscribe to our weekly Newsletter. Enter Your Email Address. Ben Davis May 8, Why did Stanislavski change the Theatre? How did Stanislavski influence the development of Theatre?

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The three unities are: unity Medicare Waiver Case Study action: a tragedy should have one principal action. Leave a Comment Cancel reply Your email address will not be Medicare Waiver Case Study. Continually honing his theories throughout his career, he died in Moscow in Born Konstantin Sergeievich Alexeyev, How Did Stanislavski Contradict The Art Of Theatre scion of a wealthy merchant family with interests in fabric, Stanislavski he changed his name to avoid the obloquy that a career in Essay On The Dragon In Beowulf theatre Physiognomic Perception Essay have brought on his family was fascinated by acting from his earliest days, though he john watson behaviorism always troubled by a certain self-consciousness, except, he noted, when imitating other Relationships In The Awakenings, and then, he Role Of Code Of Ethics In Social Care he was just plain bad. How Did Stanislavski Contradict The Art Of Theatre men did what was required to serve the culture they lived in.