... my notes?
... stanislavsky.vtheatre.net ?
2006 Film w/Anatoly I & II: Directing + Theory
I have to act to live. ~ Laurence Olivier
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Stanislavsky for Directors?
What do you mean, Anatoly?
I mean that directors MUST know Method Acting to understand actors in order to work with them.
Do actors must know Method?
They are actors. They know it, even if they didn't study it.
Should they study Method?
Yes, but there are enough textbooks for actors. Maybe too many.
I advise actors to study Biomechanics.
Method of the System? Or "System of the Method"?
"System" -- the Russian name for the school of Stanislavsky's training for actor. I didn't like it in Moscow, I was young. In teaching and directing it proved to be extremely useful. So, what is this "System of the Method" ("Method" is the American name)? In short, "psychological realism" -- meaning that we are after experiencing "true" emotions on stage. Is it possible? Actor = Character = Role (the basic formula). When I play Hamlet, I am Hamlet! Really?
That is why there is a book "Method or Madness?" Well, everything about theatre is madness, you know. So, we will try to see the Method of this madness, my friends.
Since I am teaching full-time since 1986, I have a lot of notes and three years ago the texts began to migrate to the web. Some of them old, some new, some notes only.
For example, 24 Hour Actor page in Theatre Theory Directory was written long ago and can give you an idea about the composition of the book.
[Book? I am not sure how long will it take to finish the book.]
Theory of Spectatorship
3 SISTERS: showcase
Dionysis -- Biomechanics
ShowCases: 3 Sisters, Mikado, 12th Night, Hamlet, The Importance of Being Earnest, Dangerous Liaisons, Don Juan
prof. Anatoly Antohin Theatre UAF AK 99775 USA (907)474-7751
Look, if you are about to try Method, you better know how to understand the text! How else can we seriously talk about subtext, if you do not know the difference between character and role?
Stanislavsky (Britannica): Russian director and actor. From age 14 he acted with his family's amateur dramatic group, and in 1888 he cofounded the Society of Art and Literature, with its permanent dramatic company. He won praise in 1891 for his first independent production, The Fruits of Enlightenment. In 1898 he and Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko (1858-1943) founded the Moscow Art Theatre; it restaged A. Chekhov's The Seagull to great acclaim, and he continued to direct and act in many Russian plays, incl. Chekhov's Uncle Vanya (1899) and The Cherry Orchard (1904). He began training his actors to identify deeply with their characters, a technique that became known as the Stanislavsky method. His company toured Europe and the U.S. (1922-24), where his method, described in his My Life in Art (1924) and An Actor Prepares (1926), influenced the later development of the Group Theatre and the Actors Studio.
Stanislavsky was big and handsome, he was an actor -- and everything he did as a director was to help himself and other actors to act. He was lucky, by the end of the 19th century the Great Russian Novel gave birth to this new Russian drama, the name of which is Chekhov. Of course, there were playwrights before him, but they were of the national, not global significance. Stanislavsky was lucky, necause at the time, when he dreamed about new forms of theatre, Russia experienced the fastest in its history economic development. Two centuries of Petersburg's centralized power, thanks to Peter the Great, finally were about to bring Russia to the West... Many old empires paid for the WWI, but Russia maybe paid the highest price -- the revolution brought the Soviet power. Lenin, Stalin -- Stanislavsky lived through so many historical changes that it charpened his sense of the needed changes in theatre arts.
Since we talk about his System, it's better, if I let him speak for himself... Lets call him "Master"!
Anatoly is, of course, me, director.
3 Sisters, the characters
Place: Fairbanks, Alaska
Time: winter before Y2K
3 or 4 acts without intermissions!
Nights, main stage of University of Alaska
Genre: tragic comedy
Footnotes are here on the right, the sidetalking.
I will explain the pix, if I can find the time. Photos are from the Cyber Sisters 1999 (Thanks to Tara and Kade, costume and light designers). Also, some are from the Russian archives (and my own -- Russian American Theatre).
Synopsis: Stanislavsky learns about Method, America and postmodernity.
PS. I had to translate the play in order for me to mess up with the text (adaptation). Besides, we didn't have to pay the royalties.
We have to apply both strategies: marco and micro analysis. You have to know how do "line-by-line" with your actors and have to know how to present the whole "reading" of the script (interpratation, concept, vision...) -- one doesn't exist without another.
NB. Get used to my sidetalking (the footnotes on the right) -- and get your actors used to your sidetalking, even while they act (no time to waste).
PS. Why should I keep this nameless "actor," when I can give him a name? "Micheal" or "Mike" -- very American! And for the last name maybe something like "Karoly"! I like it -- Mike Karoly. Good.
I believe that all good actors know how to direct... themselves. We call it "talant" (emotional and physical knowledge of yourself, i.e. "presence"), mastery of self-awareness (actor's task). Good directors can make act anybody and anything -- props, animals, children, set, light...
SummaryStanislavsky: the inner truth. "Actor dies in Character" = Role. Actor becomes his character. We should add that the text must die in actor as well, being replaced by the "actor's text" -- performance. We know that the good acting is invisible acting, when we forget that actor acts. Since the Satan stopped stilling the souls, actor should on his own learn how to give the soul to fictional people, it's time to him to be Devil.
QuestionsWhat is the difference between "System" and "Method"? The "original" theory and the American version? Who knows? And who cares? Maybe the historians. Read Stanislavsky's fat books, if you can.
HomeworkRead something about Stanislavsky and/or Method Acting. Anything. Method is all over. All acting textbooks use Method in various ways. One day I will put the reading list together. My advise -- read my webpages on acting.
Notes"SpectActor" and "Virtual Theatre" are about to merge! This ebook is a part of this huge project vTheatre. As well as Biomechanics for Actors (Meyerhold). The best path to understanding the heart of the matter is to get a sense what is "Spectatorship" -- the means of the public identification with the character on stage are the ways of actor's indentification with the character. In fact, this is the same process, only actor does it professionally! He is being payed to do it. For having fun. A lot of fun.
NB. Since I moved all biomechanics pages to a new directory and organized it as BioMechanics for Actors weBook, this Acting Directory is to become Method Textbook.
Like in sport, it's 99% preparation! Count the minutes you are on stage... Now, for each minute in front of the public you must spend a day practicing this single page.
And years of learning HOW TO DO IT!
'Though this be madness, yet there is method in't'... (Hamlet Act.2 Sc.1)
Next Acting III in 2004-2005 *One day in the middle of my rehearsals of "3 Sisters" I heard the strong, actor's voice from the house.
METHOD ACTING for DIRECTORSDirector without actors is a film director!
If you don't know how to work with actors, you are not a director!What? For directors? What about us, actors?Actor = Creator + Medium (Meyerhold's formula)
Enough acting books are written for actors, why not a book about acting for directors? After all they are the ones, who work with actors, who should know know how to the get it out of them, the acting!
Of course, you, actors, can read the book and get great acting out of youselves!
Stanislavsky: The Cult of FeelingsStage action is staged action. It must be reinforced that all our definitions (emotions, thoughts, etc.) are within theatre experience, different in nature next to "real" life experience.
The ways to study and to analyse both 1. the character and 2. sence of yourself within the character... always two parts: Actor's Work on His Role and Actor's Work on Himself. And each is divided on inner and outer work (psycho-technic). Living the Part (ïåðåæèâàíèå àêòåðîì ðîëè, "æèòü ðîëüþ") and Building the Character (ïðîöåññ âîïëîùåíèÿ).
ATTENTION, CONCENTRATION (êðóã ñîñðåäîòî÷åííîñòè), COMMUNICATION (îáùåíèå, BELIEF (âåðà). (From "Íàñòîëüíàÿ Êíèãà Äðàìàòè÷åñêîãî Àðòèñòà" Table Book of Dramatic Artist (unfinished manuscript by Stanislavsky).1
Alawys remember, you can't really work on any role with your actor, unless you work on this actor at the same time.
[ intro to method. in Acting One ] + Please read the play and 3 Sisters showcase directory first. Or/and the old ACTING files. Did you see Acting One, Two, Three classes? Wait! Are you an actor?
I mean, are you ready to learn craft, art and science of acting for the rest of your life? Do you read plays, search for this YOUR role? Do you see it in your dreams?
No? I don't know, if Method is for you. You see, Method is only an example, the base, directions how to develop your OWN method... You need the rest of life to acheave it.
Read the pages and you'll understand.
Oh, it will take a while even to collect all my pages and references on Method...
What about the difference between American Stanislavsky and Russian one? What about Stanislavsky in postmodernity? The POMO Stanislavsky!
No, no, not now. Later.
First, the formula:
1. FeelingFrom 1 to 4 = process of origination. From 4 to 1 = actor's investigative process. I guess, we have to spell out every term in this line?
Read ID pages to understand that IDENTIFICATION must with all four levels! SUBTEXT = 1, 2, 3!
From Inside Out We call them "dramatic pauses" for a reason!
Act -- in pauses!"How to fix emotion, which is only from time to time could be recalled. There's only way is to do it -- to link an emotion with action. Get used to link an emotion with certain action, on one hand, it's become possible to repeat this feeling through familiar action, and, on another hand, emotions getting linked with different actions, force actor into familiar psycho-physiological states." Stanislavsky2Did you noticed "physiological"! The late Stanislavsky got very biomechanical. Old Stanislavsky was into yoga. Also, I have to add a page on Freud to this directory!
Russia ("System"): The Stanislavsky System, or "the method," as it has become known, held that an actor’s main responsibility was to be believed (rather than recognized or understood).
To reach this "believable truth", Stanislavsky first employed methods such as "emotional memory." To prepare for a role that involves fear, the actor must remember something frightening, and attempt to act the part in the emotional space of that fear they once felt. Stanislavsky believed that an actor needed to take his or her own personality onto the stage when they began to play a character. This was a clear break from previous modes of acting that held that the actor's job was to become the character and leave their own emotions behind. Later Stanislavsky concerned himself with the creation of physical entries into these emotional states, believing that the repetition of certain acts and exercises could bridge the gap between life on and off the stage.
HISTORY in America: Although most filmgoers readily form opinions about acting, the subject of performance is one of the least analyzed aspects of film aesthetics. What exactly do actors contribute to film artistry, and how do they do it? Lee Strasberg (1899-1982), a teacher and theorist of acting and a leader of the Actors Studio, suggested that the most effective film performers were those who did not act. “They try not to act but to be themselves, to respond or react,” he said. This may be a debatable proposition in the sense that performers' images and roles are invariably constructed by such factors as studio publicity and genre codes, but it does relate to a central tenet of the Stanislavski Method: actors were not to emote in the traditional manner of stage conventions, but to speak and gesture in a manner one would use in private life. Konstantin Stanislavski, who was, director at the Moscow Art Theater, wrote a number of books on acting, the first of which, An Actor Prepares, was published in English translation in 1936. Before then, however, one of his students, Richard Boleslawsky (1889-1937), opened an acting school in New York and began teaching Stanislavskian principles (Boleslavsky went on to Hollywood and directed a number of films in the 1930s)”
Above: Stanislavsky as Trigorin (Moscow Art Theatre, Seagull by Anton Chekhov). Chekhov loved him as an actor, not as a director.
Method2002: From Inside Out
The first significant performance work drawing on Stanislavski's ideas was carried Out by the Group Theater, formed in New York in 1931. The Group's most famous Production was a play expressing the militant radical spirit of the 1930s, “Waiting for Lefty” (1935), by Clifford Odets (1903-1963), who became a Hollywood scriptwriter and occasional director. The Group did not last beyond the 1930s, but its influence continued in Hollywood and through the formation of the Actors Studio.
MASTER. I don't see it! Yes, yes, I am talking to you!
There was a big sylverheaded man with the dark eyebrows. I can't believe it! Impossible!
MASTER. Possible, possible! What is impossible, my dear, is to watch the actors, who do not understand the text! Sorry, Anton Pavlovich, my soul.
And he turned to the man with glasses next to him. Chekhov smilled a little and flashed like a girl, a teenager. My actors were staring at me...
Directors are from Mars, actors are from Venice.... ... Maybe I have a twisted mind: Method for Directors, Biomechanics for Actors? Let me again explain myself.
I am coming from the place where director must have his own style, theory (even several of them), leave after himself a school, while he is directing the plays. According to this carzy Russian tradition, director is an artist, revolutionary, innovator, teacher and so on. Stanislavsky is responsible for this madness. Before him Russian Theatre History knew only the ballet choreograhers, after him began so-called "Director's Theatre"...
Chekhov thought that Stanislavsky (what a pompous stage name -- "place of fame") is a bad director, but can you do if Anton Chekhov wrote the plays we still century later do not know to stage! Besides, what do you expect from the actor turned director?
I believe that we should be gratefull to the Comrade Stalin for the birth of the Method Acting. First, after the Great Revolution of uneducated masses all these theatre experimentations came to the end by 1934. Stanislavsky was smart and went into deep theatry, dying in his own Moscow bed, instead of Siberia. Second, the realism became the state doctrine, known as a Socialist Realism and Stanislavky was a realist.
In America you never have time for anything and I have to explain the concept of realism in fast food terms: I say it's the move acting and if I am in bad mood, I say that Chekhov and Stanislavsky are resposible for the soaps. This is "serious" drama and "serious acting" (do you know about the Aristotle's mimesis? This is the extreme way of doing it like in "real life"). The problem with the soap acting is not the method, but not having time for the Method.
Lesson #60 or 90 min
1. review (previous class)
3. new key terms & definitions
4. monologues & scenes
5. issues & topics
6. questions, discussion, analysis
7. in class work
9. improv & games
12. online, journals
* new : teatr.us
Director, think -- why you are not actor.
1 I'll translate some major terms of the Method (better say, I'll comment on).
2Stanislavski or Stanislavsky? I like "Stanislavsky" better.
Chekhov's Plays: An Opening into Eternity.(book reviews)
keys : profile.to/anatoly