Compare and contrast Brecht and Stanislavski notions of acting and the role of the actor in the theatre
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Bertolt Brecht and Constantin Stanislavski are regarded as two of the most influential practitioners of the twentieth century, both with strong opinions and ideas about the function of the theatre and the actors within it. Both theories are considered useful and are used throughout the world as a means to achieve a good piece of theatre. The fact that both are so well respected is probably the only obvious similarity as their work is almost of complete opposites.
Stanislavski was born in 1863 to a wealthy family who loved amateur theatricals. In 1898 he met Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko and they founded the Moscow Art Theatre. Stanislavski's work is centred on the notion that acting should be a total lifelike expression of what is being…show more content… (3)
Brecht's idea of the actor's role is very much different from Stanislavski's. Brecht saw the actor as tool to simply represent an archetype. Brecht didn't want the audience taken in by the actor's performance, he wanted to alienate them from the action so that they could judge the plays meanings rather than feel empathy with the characters. He called this the Verfremdungseffekt, which translated from German means the effect of a worldview. Up until Brechts revolutionary work, method acting was very common. Brecht quoted
"Nowadays the plays' meaning is usually blurred by the fact that the actor plays to the audiences hearts. The figures portrayed are foisted on the audience and are falsified in the process. Contrary to present custom they ought to be presented quite coldly, classically and objectively. For they are not matter for empathy; they are there to be understood and politely added
"I'm not writing for the scum who want to have the cockles of their hearts warmed"
Brecht was not the sort of writer or director that wanted an exact portrayal from his actors of how he saw his characters. Nor did he expect the audience to take an exact interpretation from he actors. He wanted the audience to draw some sort of moral from the story that would arouse their sense of reason to affect their own