Constantin Stanislavky's Renowned Work in Naturalistic Theater
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Russian practitioner Constantin Stanislavsky is renowned for his work in naturalistic theatre and his focus on the process of character development for the actor. I have found his techniques extremely useful when trying to create believable characters. This essay will explore elements of Stanislavsky's system including emotion memory and the magic 'if', looking at how he implemented the techniques and how I have used them in practice, in specific relation to the play Mine by Polly Teale. I will also explore how effective each of the techniques can be and when individual ones are perhaps more appropriate or accessible to actors when exploring characters.
Stanislavski has dominated theories of acting over the past 100 years, as noted by Billington (2009), and of his most well-known elements of his system is Emotion Memory. Stanislavsky would watch other actors and the ones he most appreciated he said had a kind of aura around them on stage, they were involved in the theatrical moment which gave the role a special charge (Gordon, 1987). The practice of Emotion Memory was developed to ensure actors could perform like this every time they were on stage. It relies on the fact that feelings we experience are similar to ones we have experienced before and that we rarely have a completely new emotion. Because of this, it is possible for an actor to go back into their memory and relive an emotion they can connect with the character they are playing. One of Stanislavski’s methods of