Total Actor & total director : Director & DIRECTING Chapter Director in Acting One

Director and Method Actors

... DIRECTOR [chapters] in acting 1 and acting 2 *
Stanislavsky: The greatest wisdom is to realize one's lack of it.

Featured Pages: Directing Directory

Is there a conflict between actors and director? Like in a family, my friends.

You know that the conflict is good for drama! NEW:

You can find the chapter on working with actors in every textbook on directing. What about texbooks for actors? Don't actor have to know how the director's mind work? Don't they have to understand the logic and needs of directors? After all, director's concerns are about the show!

I often hear it from actors: "I'm not into directing, I am an actor."

Do you know that the majority of the orchestra conductors are musicians themselves? If the first violin doesn't understand the musical organization of the piece the whole orchestra plays, it won't the first violin.

You don't have to be a director, but actor MUST understand directing!

Stanislavksy and Meyerhold. When the two meet? First Time

The fun for me is knowing what the other person is saying and what my character would be thinking at that time. On the stage you get the chance to do all that, to analyze and build a part, to react, to contribute something no one else can--not the author, not even the director. Barry Nelson

"Use your weaknesses; aspire to the strength." Laurence Olivier [ That is what director does to actor. ]


"Acting expresses a part of the self otherwise hidden to the conscious mind." Lisa M. O'Neill

Case study: The experimental methods the actors studied at Kazans Actors Studio followed the teachings of Russian dramatist Konstantin Stanislavski, which Strasberg applied in the United States. Stanislavskis influential book, An Actor Prepares, was translated into English in 1936, forever changing the course of stage and screen acting. The style of acting based on his teachings became known as the Method, and its practitioners Method actors. A Method actor did not use the emoting techniques common at the time, which consisted of loud, stiff, stagy movements intended to clarify emotions and intentions for the audience. Rather, a Method actor strove to be himself and stay in the moment, responding or reacting as he would in private life. Smaller gestures, mannerisms, pauses, and hesitancies became more important than broad and clear external motions. Actors were encouraged to draw on their own selves and lives. Past memories, life experiences, pains, and pleasures were to be called up from the actors subconscious and incorporated into their characters psyches. In this way, characters took on depth and transcended one-sided labels such as villain or damsel-in-distress. They became breathing, complex individuals with contradictory emotions and interior lives that complicated exterior expressions. Three early Method actors were Marlon Brando, James Dean, and Montgomery Clift. The fact that many of these acting philosophies are standard today remains a testament to the revolutionary power of the teachings at Kazans Actors Studio.

Kazan directed his first stage play in 1935 and became one of Broadway's brightest lights. He was acclaimed especially for his powerful and realistic direction of the plays of Tennessee Williams, such as A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), and Arthur Miller, such as Death of a Salesman (1948).

Kazan died in 2003 at the age of ninety-four.


Meyerhold @ Work *

The Director:
In the mid-1950s, the French periodical, Cahiers du Cinima, popularized the auteur theory, a view which stressed the dominance of the director in film art. According to this theory, whoever controls the mise-enscene, is the true author of a movie. The other collaborators (writers, cinematographer, actors, editor) are merely his technical assistants. No doubt the auteur critics exaggerated the primacy of the director, particularly in America, where many film directors were at the mercy of the studio system, which tended to emphasize group work rather than individual expression, stars rather than directors, and box-office success before artistic distinction. If a director could control the financing of a film-that is, act as producer as well as director-then he might be freer to control the final product. Some of the best movies of John Huston and Alfred Hitchcock were produced as well as directed by these men.

... "The stage director is a kind of go-between for the author and the cast and production staff. That is, the director is responsible for the general interpretation of the script, and usually defines the limits for the other interpretive artists: actors, designers, technicians. The director must see to it that all the production elements are harmonized and subordinated to the overall interpretation. His influence tends to be stronger during rehearsals than in the actual performance. Once the curtain opens before an audience, he is powerless to control what then takes place. On the other hand, the screen director has a good deal more control over the final product. He too dominates the pre-production activities, but unlike the stage director, he controls virtually every aspect of the finished work as well. The degree of precision a film director can achieve is impossible on the stage, for the movie director can re-photograph people and objects until he gets exactly what he wants. As we have seen, films communicate primarily through moving images, and its the director who determines most of the visual elements: the choice of shots, angles, lighting effects, filters, optical effects, framing, composition, camera movement, and editing.

The differences in control and precision between stage and film direction can be best illustrated perhaps by examining the handling of the mise-en-scene. The stage director is much more restricted: he must work with only one setting per scene. All the actors, objects, and patterns of movement are placed within this given area. Since this is a three-dimensional space, he has the advantage of depth as well as breadth to work with. Through the use of platforms, he can also exploit height on the stage. The theatrical director must use certain conventions to assure maximum clarity. Thus, with a proscenium stage, the audience pretends its peeping into a room where one wall has been removed. Naturally no furniture is placed against this wall, nor do actors turn their backs to it for very long periods, for the dialogue would not be audible. If a thrust stage is used, the audience surrounds the acting area on three sides, forcing the performers to play to three sides instead of one. Again, this convention is necessary to assure maximum clarity. In the cinema, the director converts three-dimensional space into a two-dimensional image of space. Even with deep-focus photography, depth is not literal. But the flat image has certain advantages. Since a camera can be placed virtually anywhere, the film director is not confined to a single set with a given number of walls The eye-level long shot more-or-less corresponds to the view the theatrical proscenium arch gives. But in movies, the close-up also constitutes a given space-in effect, a cinematic roomlet, with its own walls (the frame). Each shot, then, represents a new given space, with different (and temporary) dimensions. Eisenstein referred to this volume arrangement as the mise-en-shot. furthermore, the moveable camera permits the director to rearrange his walls many times for maximum expressiveness, with no sacrifice in clarity. Thus, in film, a character can enter the frame from below, from above, from either side, and from any angle. By dollying or craning, a camera can also take us into a set, permitting objects to pass by us. Because of the audiences identification with the cameras lens, the viewer in the cinema is, in a sense, mobile."

Vasiliev: Pycc peccep B..Hepo-aeo opee p y peccepa: peccep-ooae, o ec o, o peaae cc; peccep-eao, o, o axoc ceex, eaoecx ooex c pyo; peccep-epao, o, o opaae, a pae aep. [ "Peccep -- cyeco pexoe: peccep-ooae, o e -- oaa, a pa; a o eo oo aa peccepo-aepo, peccepo-eaoo; peccep-epao, opaaee -yae aeca aepa; peccep -- opaaop ceo cea" ( 1938, " " ). ]

MISE EN SCÈNE The responsibility for creating this ensemble, for its artistic integrity, the expressiveness of the over-all performance lies with the director. In the period when the director was a despot . . . he worked out the whole plan of the production, he indicated the general outlines of the parts, taking into consideration, of course, the participating actors, and he showed them all the "business." . . . But now I have arrived at the conviction that the creative work of the director must proceed in unison with that of the actors and not outdistance it nor hold it back. He must facilitate the creativeness of the actors, supervise and integrate it, taking care that it evolves naturally and only from the true artistic kernel of the play. This joint work of the director and the actors, this search for the essential kernel of the plays, begins with analysis and proceeds along the line of through-going action. This applies also to the external shaping of a performance. That should be, in my opinion, the objective of a director nowadays. --An Actor Prepares
-- Stanislavski's Legacy




2005: mini-chekhov
"Action is dramatic when it is cause by conflict and done in order to resolve it." (Krzysztof Szwaja).

"Director" is an invention of the 20th century.

Why do we need him?

A century ago the great technological revolution brought directors to theatre. The electrification -- including the new medium "Film".... somebody has to oversee the overall harmony of many messages in many languages of stage. The drama itself went through radical transformation (see Ibsen and Chekhov and Realism). The acting school went through the Reformation.

What do you, actor, need to know about the Mind of Director?

First, it works differently from yours.

See Self-Directing for Actors!

Some directors act, some actors direct. That is the difference between Meyerhold and Stanislavsky.

Often I find myself in a position of a couch. Of course, actors are insecure, even the most arrogant ones. How else? How do you know that it is right whatever you do? You're in, you don't see yourself. You only have a feeling -- yes, yes, but....

I leave this situation with a thought that each actor has to learn how to be his or her own couch and trainer. It does take skill of self-evaluation, critical observation, living a separate non-actor's existance. One tool I always adviocate -- Actor's Journals (you it from your classes). You have to record your state of mind, your progress, your goals -- you have to talk to yourself!

Another -- developing a little director sitting inside you with his voice and his talk. It takes a journey into other lands -- general understanding of the script ourtside of your role, understanding designers, even the ideas behind the lighting plot. Yes, it will help you to remember the laws of the acting areas. You will remember that once established your positions can't be change -- and you better be sure that you are where you want your character to be.

Directors love actors who meet them half way; we are digging the channel from two opposite sides, friends. We have to develp the macro-action (director) which coinsides with the micro-actions (actor). Actor has to welcome the limitations imposed by the text, directions, design, etc -- only than you have YOUR ACTOR's SPACE for development of your role. Do you know where this space starts and ends?


Good actors need good directors. Or better, directions!
Stanislavsky: "Painting, music and other arts, each of which exert a strong influence on the soul, are all brought together in the theatre, and their effect is therefore all the more powerful." (Moscow Art Theatre, 1911, The Actor's Resposibility) -- that's why we need directors; to harmonize all the elements on stage!


What is not director's business? Acting. Director works with actors, actors act.

What is not actor's business?


Old law: more you give, more you get back. Director is you main partner, because he is the PUBLIC (Golden Triangle Rule).


Student-directors afraid to ask this question -- Who is "Director"?

The textbooks don't answer them.




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Directing is a dance with public. You lead... and let them lead. The story is between the two, a good story is their EXPERIENCE. Director makes invisible into visible (visualization). Bring out only a part, enough for their next step and next question. Letting them SEE is hidding the most important for the next shot! And again!

"Start with the disordering event, and let the beat be about the attempt to restore order." (Mamet on Directing)

Two shots are the CONFLIT.

That's all -- direct it, the conflict.

Remember the laws of Dialectics!

Director II, Notes, Film

Grotowski: -- . ? ? , -- . . , , , . -- , , . -- , , , , , , "", , , . , ? , , . , , , , . , , . , , . -- , , , ! -- . *
Thinking about Bergman and reading philosophy books... I talk about film-directors only because directing film is the extreme expression of this profession.

Bergman has too many talents. He writes and writes well. He directs for stage. This is not good for a filmmaker. Film director should be like an artist or a musician, they don't write or dance. Film directing asks for self-limitations. No, I dont believe in actors-directors.

If a director can express himself in words, he should have emormous self-discipline. I always wanted to stage "Wild Strawberries" -- it has a lot of theatre structure. I won't do it with 8 1/2 (unless it's an experiment like with "Potemkin" in France).

I consider the big film directors to be new philosophers, the postmodern type of discourse... feeling=thinking.

Art always had philosophy in it, but the subject of "War & Peace" is not philosophy. Films, even movies, because of the technology build-in, do have IDEOLOGY in everything.

Film is musically organized, but unlike music the last structural principle of Aristotle -- the Idea -- is the form! Film is a THOUGHT.

Watching? Experiencing the thinking, a living reasoning...
It's ONE idea demonstrated in two hours. They say film is dream-like, but what are my dreams if not THINKING while my brain sleeps? So, it is thinking without thinking! Pre-thinking? Or maybe PRIME THINKING, the only thought process whereI do not control it -- and do not lie!
...when I am free from myself... as if God speaks through me!

Ideology is one-dimensional. The Idea-Drive, excluding the rest, because it's full of desire, or WILL as Nietzsche would say. Of course, it's POWERFUL.

Each good film is a state of mind. It has to be static in order to have evolution within. Film is the STOPPED TIME (Faust), only then we can experience time (Deleuze + Bergson, time, duration and memory). Eisenstein with his dialictics called it "spiral" structure, when we return over and over again. To the same face for example (CU), as if the eternal return (Nietzsche again). How else can we keep time frozen?

The After-feeling: "lost time" (as if I didn't live for two hours). There is no time in eternity. [Eternity is a questionable idea; life denounce it.]

Film is experience (see cultural studies and Baurdaugh). film doesn't exist outside of being consumed and consuming. It's not about "understanding" -- there is nothing I do not understand because I SEE everything.

In that sense film is anti-intellectual experience as we know it. Post-human, or pre-human.

Film is language I can speak with animals (and we will when we master 3D technology). It's REAL. Not just a "refliction" of reality as it was with art before, but the reality itself. Resurrected and immortal reality.

Film is nothing but SELF. That is what resurrected world is about -- it doesn't exist outside of being SELF, i.e. it's subjective reality. There is no division between subjective and objective anymore, SELF is both. My feelings are very OBJECTIVE, pain is extremely real. The so-called "objective" world follows the logic of Kant; it is a thing-in-itself. Film is only now considered as art form, in the future it will the art-of-living. Of course, each his film is about Bergman. It is his self-portrait of inner-world. The filmmaker doesn't have to be on the screen (I do not see myself in my dreams), I am always the center of drama. Everything focused on me and about me.

Self-centered, introvert existence. Read again Heidegger: Being is Becoming and Becoming is Being. There is no Being outside of this process, no existence without being the time itself, without becoming the time.

Heidegger on Nietzsche (Chapter 8): Will as Affect, Passion and Felling. Another tupe of logic. (from Volume I: The Will to Power as Art).

"Nietzsche" -- the name of the thinker stands as the title for the matter of his thinking -- the first phrase in the Foreword.

Knowledge is supposed to be private and personal. Film in itself is the act of WILL to POWER.
Film is the pick of meditation!

Greeks: psyche is "soul" (direct translation) -- that is the material and method of film. Heidegger (p. 61):

Will to power is never the willing of a particular actual entity. It involves the Being as essence of beings; it is this itself."
My SEEING the world is outside of my will, it is The Will to Power which is I. The power of film in it. The SEEING is this resurrection (becoming=being). Hegel would say the self-realization of the Spirit ("energy of thinking, the pure ego").
That is the subject of film and Bergamn makes it into HIS subject. Not just abstract "being" but his own being equated with the Being.
There is no world without or outside this personal and private Being, no truth without THAT truth. That's is concrete enough to be true.
"I" speaks...
We say -- camera...

My personal resurrection can't take place with participation of all (technology). There is not enough technology yet, we are not ready...
We are getting there...

Between director and Actor (books):

Books On The Method, Stanislavski: Delving Deeper Into Your Character and other Acting Techniques: Beyond Stanislavsky by Bella Merlin

The Director's Eye: A Comprehensive Textbook for Directors and Actors by John Ahart (Spring 2006 THR331 textbook)

Modern Theories of Performance: From Stanislavski to Boal by Jane Milling, Graham Ley

In Character by Christopher Vened, Michael Hackett

Twentieth Century Actor Training by Alison Hodge

The Actor As Storyteller: An Introduction to Acting by Bruce J. Miller Stanislavski for Beginners (Writers and Readers Beginners Documentary Comic Books: Drama) by David Allen

Acting Under the Circumstances: Variations on a Theme of Stanislavski: A Step-By-Step Approach to Playing a Part (Career Development Series) by Richard Brestoff

Stagematrix: Theatre Directing

Film Directing 101

Director in THR Theory + Directing

Spectator as Director + Director in Virtual Theatre

* Overview of directing pages: Director's Page Theatre w/Anatoly
3 Texts (Semiotics of Directing)

2006: Shaman and Theology Page

"Method Acting for Directors" -- explain...

metaphysics of acting --> directing

Michael Chekhov: Pedagogy, Spirituality, and the Occult

* The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture by Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal; Cornell University Press, 1997 - Part One: Ancient Beliefs in Modern Times - Chapter One: Magic and Divination Old Russian Sources - Chapter Two: Three Instances of the Peasant Occult in Russian Literature - Chapter Three: Russian Religious Thought and the Jewish Kabbala - Part Two: Varieties of Early Twentieth-Century Occultism - Chapter Four: The Shade of Lucifer's Dark Wing - Chapter Five: Fashionable Occultism - Chapter Six: Anthroposophy in Russia - Part Three: From Magic to "Science" - Chapter Seven: Fedorov's Transformations of the Occult - Chapter Eight: Russian Cosmism in the 1920s and Today - Chapter Nine: Technology as Esoteric Cosmology in Early Soviet Literature - Part Four: Transformations of the Occult in Stalin's Time - Chapter Ten: The Magic of Words Symbolism, Futurism, Socialist Realism - Chapter Eleven: An Occult Source of Socialist Realism - Chapter Twelve: Sergei Eisenstein's Gnostic Circle - Chapter Thirteen: The Occult in the Prose of Vsevolod Ivanov - Part Five: The Occult since Stalin - Chapter Fourteen: Daniil Andreev and the Mysticism of Femininity - Appendix: Synopsis of Roza Mira - Chapter Fifteen: The Occult in Russia Today - Instead of a Conclusion - Chapter Sixteen: Political Implications of the Early Twentieth- Century Occult Revival

"... When Rudolf Steiner ( 1861-1925) reflected on the history of civilization, he envisioned a special role for Russia, because he considered Russia the country that could best embody the spirit of a new cultural epoch, In Russia Anthroposophy developed beyond the mere study of an esoteric doctrine and its theory of knowledge. "



Nikolai F. Fedorov: An Introduction (Belmont, Mass., 1979) George M. Young Jr.

[ see Fedorov Page in Russian in TECH ]

Ideal Director [ The first book of Moses, called Genesis ]

... 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.



Meyerhold, "Klop" (Bedbug) by Mayakovsky (Biomechanics)

[ directing ]