Constantine Stanislavski was born in Moscow, Russia in 1863 (died 1938). He was an actor and eventually moved on to become a director and teacher. He developed a new approach to acting. It took him years of experimenting to get to what is now known as the Stanislavski System. Most acting that we see now has its roots in the Stanislavski system. Before the invention of the Stanislavski System, acting looked more like a comedy play on stage. Melodrama asks actors to practice the movements, gestures, and voices to create the characters = Outside to the inside. Stan “the man” wanted actors to work on characters from the inside and thus create more of a “true” or “real” (ie. not artificial) performance.
- Relaxation: learning to relax the muscles and eliminate physical tension while performing
Concentration: learning to think like an actor and to respond to one’s own imagination
- Observation: Discovering the sensory base of the work: learning to memorize and recall sensations often called “sense memory” and/or “affective memory”; learning to work from a small sensation and expand it, a technique Stanislavski called “spheres of attention.”
- Communication: Developing the ability to interact with other performers spontaneously, and with an audience, without violating the world of the play.
- the more fertile the actor’s imagination, the more interesting would be the choices made in terms of objective, physical action, and creating the given circumstances around the character.
- There is no such thing as ‘actually’ on stage. Art is a product of the imagination, as the work of a dramatist should be. The aim of the actor should be to use his technique to turn the play into a theatrical reality. In this process, imagination plays by far the greatest part.