Comparing and Contrasting Brecht and Stanislavski Essays

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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…
Brechts work is based on the concept that theatre is a means of political persuasion for the masses. He sees the theatre as a tool to manipulate the audience, and to influence their day-to-day living once that have thought about issues raised during the performance. Stanislavski was very sure of the role of his actors within the theatre. The actors are there to create a real, emotional and truthful imitation of the character they are playing, and to be so life-like that they seem to become their character. He said that the "Purpose of our art is to create the life of a human soul and render it in an artistic form." (2) Which is quite a clear illustration of the purpose or 'role' of stanislavskian actors. Stanislavski set out a way of preparing for a role so that the actor could fulfil his role of pure imitation. He started off by asking the actor to explore the character. He wanted to know what their objective was in each unit of action and what their super objective was. The super objective was the sum of all the units and their objectives. "In a play the whole stream of individual minor objectives, all the imaginative thoughts, feelings and actions of an actor, should converge to carry out the super objective of the plot" Once actors can find some direction or purpose (objective or super objective) then it is easier, according to Stanislavski, to immerse themselves in the character. He noted "You mustn't act 'in general', for the sake of

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