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

By Konstantin Stanislavski

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

Until now, readers and scholars have needed to deal with faulty, deceptive and difficult-to-read English-language types. many of the mistranslations have led to profound distortions within the manner his procedure has been interpreted and taught. ultimately, Jean Benedetti has succeeded in translating Stanislavski’s large handbook right into a energetic, interesting and actual textual content in English. He has remained devoted to the author's unique intentions, placing the 2 books formerly referred to as An Actor Prepares and Building A Character again jointly into one quantity, and in a colloquial and readable type for ultra-modern actors.

The result's an immense contribution to the theatre, and a carrier to 1 of the good innovators of the 20th century.

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Sample text

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. The moment for battle had come. Thus armed, I felt like a proud, majestic, handsome warrior. But I looked modern, smooth and polished. But Othello is African! There has to be something of the tiger about him. I went through a whole series of exercises to try and discover the characteristic movement of a tiger. I prowled around the room, skilfully with slinking steps, between the gaps in the furniture, hiding behind the cupboard, stalking my prey.

I was gripped with such a fever for work, such a need to get busy right away, I couldn’t waste time looking for a book. Pasha said he would play Iago. Today we were also told that the first rehearsal had been fixed for tomorrow. As soon as I got home, I shut myself in my room, settled back on the sofa, opened my book reverentially and began to read. But by page two I felt I just had to start acting. I couldn’t help myself. My legs, my hands, my face began to move of their own accord. I had to declaim the lines.

Most of all, opposites are beginning to come together. My previous way of portraying a savage had nothing to do with Shakespeare. In the early rehearsals I felt contrived when I tried to force African features into the role, but now it’s as though I had injected something into what I am doing. At least I feel less at war with the author. .. 19.. We rehearsed on the main stage today. I had counted on magic and inspiration backstage. And what did I find? Instead of the glare of the footlights, a mess.

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