The fundamental aspect is to experience what the character lives
If you are on this site, there is a good chance that your desire is to become an actor and to work in show business.
I have already told you in another post about the steps to take to pursue this career . What is the first one to get started? Studying, because it is not enough to get on stage or in front of a camera to become an actor: you must also learn the technique. People ask how do you become an actor with no experience? Visit our how do you become an actor with no experience page to learn how do you become an actor with no experience?
There are many acting methods, developed by as many actors and directors, but the first that spontaneously comes to mind is certainly that of Stanislavski. Everyone knows him, at least by name, but few really have any idea what his theories really said.
In this article I will try to explain it to you in a synthetic way, even if it is impossible to say everything in a few words, so I will focus only on the most important aspects .
First of all, why is Stanislavsky’s method so famous and important?
Because he was the first to analyze the actor’s work in detail and to describe the creative process that leads to the interpretation of a character. Before that, young people learned to act simply by observing professionals at work and trying to imitate them. Stanislavski, on the other hand, for the first time theorized the mental processes that must be carried out in order to recreate the mood of a character. In this way, acting could also be theoretically explained and taught.
The need for a method arises so that the actor’s performance can be reproduced at every replica of the show.
Stanislavski, in fact, was skeptical of those actors who claimed to rely completely on instinct , because he believed that they could sometimes reach a “state of grace” in which they were credible and convincing, but were unable to reproduce it every time they entered. on stage. In short, it was a rare and uncontrollable event. A good actor, on the other hand, should be able to be credible every time he acts .
The fundamental point around which Stanislavski’s theories revolve is that the actor on stage must not pretend, but really live what the character experiences . Only in this way will viewers also be able to believe what they are seeing.
But how do you “really live” a situation that the actors know is not real? Through what Stanislavsky calls the “magical if”, that is, wondering how they would behave if they were in that situation. By doing so, the stage action takes on a concreteness in the actor’s mind.
For example, there is a big difference between thinking “I have to take a worried attitude” and asking “what would I do if an important person were to arrive in my house and I didn’t know how to welcome them?”. In the second case, the worry is no longer an end in itself, but has a well-defined cause and leads the actor to do a series of actions that have a specific purpose.
When an actor works on a certain character, the identification process is more complex and is divided into four fundamental phases. Each should be treated in depth, to explain it adequately, but in this article I don’t have the necessary space, so I propose only an extreme synthesis:
Knowledge, which starts from reading the script and analyzing the context in which the character finds himself; Revival, which consists in drawing the emotions that the character feels from one’s own emotional baggage; Personification, which allows the emotions recalled in the revival phase to be transposed onto the actions of the character; Communication, which is about building a relationship with the other actors on the scene.
Stanislavsky wanted to put all his theoretical work in eight books in writing, but he had time to organize and publish only a part of the collected material, before he died of the disease.
Two books by the author that have been published (and that you can read if you want to deepen these theories through the words of those who created them) are ” The actor’s work on himself ” and ” The actor’s work on the character “.
The fame of Stanislavski and his theories spread outside Russia mainly thanks to a tour in the United States of America. Some pupils of the great Russian director decided to stay and teach the techniques they had learned to American actors. From these teachings the acting method of Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler will be born , which take up the fundamental concepts theorized by Stanislavskij and develop them further.