Russian Theatre disorganised with melodramatic acting Influences Mikhail Schepkin(Maly Theatre) Sax Meiningen Company(Ensemble) Playwrights Gogol and Chekhov Partnership with Nemirovich-Danchenko to form Moscow Arts Theatre-Permanent company
Moscow arts Theatre 1904
Function of Theatre Moral instrument To civilise Increase sensitivity Heighten perception Ennoble the mind Uplift the spirit Theatre should deal with important social issues but should not be overly didactic in its politics, the text should speak for itself.
Realism An emphasis on the subtext of the play (characters say and do things that have hidden agendas.) Material closely observed from the real world. It shows a more realistic interpretation version of everyday life, but not exactly life itself. Develops an acting system to achieve greater more truthful realism
Analysis and constant close reading of the text is crucial
Ensemble Company should be disciplined have good resources and comfortable rehearsal space- actors should be artists dedicated to the work and the ensemble "there are no small parts only small actors" must have a love of art for its own sake not be egotistical
The system Evolves over thirty years Three stages Imitation and observation Analysis precedes action Know authors work/search for psychological realism / create imaginary models of character Method of Physical action--- action and analysis work together
Function of theatre--Moral instrument, to civilise, increase sensitivity, heighten perception, ennoble the mind, uplift spirits. Style =Realism( observed selected material) The key to achieving realism is the system of Actor Training Discipline and focus is essential for actors to develop mind, body and voice.
InternalExternal ActionRelaxation ImaginationExternal Tempo Rhythms Given CircumstancesVoice Units and objectivesSpeech Magic IfVocal Technique Tempo & rhythmMovement Internal characteristicsDance Emotion memoryPhysical Expressiveness
Units and Objectives Super objective the main idea Through line the main ideas/action that galvanises all objectives Units and objectives breaking down the play into smaller units -- helps to play scenes /sections with focus and energy
Action meaningful purpose of an actor on stage. The actor is always engaged in action even when still. " always act with purpose" AAP p.40 "all action must have an inner justification, be logical, coherent and real" AAP p46 Therefore only movement should only be used when strictly necessary- when it has meaning and purpose
Given Circumstances Actor must read the play thoroughly and must believe in the given circumstances = ability to function at a high level of involvement Context of the action--- story of the play facts, events, date, time, place of action conditions of life for the main context and of each character actors and directors interpretation production, set, costume, properties lighting, sound effects
Magic If To create imaginative fiction of another person -the actor needs to " sincerely believe in the possibilities of what you are called upon to do on stage" What would happen if ?
Imagination Read the text but also enhance your character by filling in the gaps through imagination. "on stage everything must be real in the imaginary life of the actor“ " If you speak any lines, or do anything, mechanically without fully realising who you are, where you came from, why, what you want, where you are going and what you will do when you get there, you will be acting with out your imagination"
Emotion Memory As an actor bring back feelings you have experienced— do exercises to train the memory – work on making emotional memories conscious and vivid in order to have a wide range of experiences to draw on.
Relaxation Exercises to release tension in the body and mind. Circles of attention --relaxation exercises to increase focus and awareness
Tempo Rhythm Finding the inner rhythm of the character affects how you do an action and how you react to other characters. Stanislavski did exercises using metronomes with actors working in different rhythms
Method of physical action A later development that objectives could be identified through physical action. He found too much sitting and analysing, stilted the actors creativity so he started the practical work on scenes earlier. There is a physical aspect to thought and therefore physical work can act as a stimulus to the imagination and the unconscious, every action has a psychological element. By action he means action directed towards the achievement of an objective. Complex emotions in the play/characters are broken down into a serious of actions and often improvisation is used to unlock the text. Working from physical actions stimulates the actor to explore the characters inner life. He recognised that physical actions are more accessible and tangible than feelings
References Sanislavski C. An Actor Prepares translated by Reynolds-Hargood E. (1937) (ed 1995) Methuen Drama Sanislavski C. Creating a Role (ed 1968) TH New English Library. London Mitter S. Systems of Rehearsal (1992) Routledge Stylan J.L. (1981) Modern Drama in Theory and Practice 2 Cambridge university Press Allen D. Sanislavski for beginners illustrated by Fallow J. (1999) Writers and Readers Comic book Writers and Readers Publishing Benedetti J. Sanislavski, An Introduction, Routledge New York (2004) Mackey S.& Cooper S. Drama and Theatre Studies (2000) Stanley Thornes ( Publishers Ltd.)