7 Basic Facts about Konstantin Stanislavski

By Webmaster

  • 7 Basic Facts About Konstantin Stanislavski

    Whether you are “Meisner” or “Method” or draw influence from the teachings of Stella Adler, Uta Hagen or others, you are likely studying an offshoot of Stanislavski’s work.

    (by Jim Webb)

    Konstantin Stanislavski was the most influential person in the history of modern acting theory. His experiences as an actor, teacher and stage director drove him to search for a system of techniques an actor could use to consistently deliver truthful performances. His work planted the seeds upon which nearly all major modern acting techniques and systems are based.
    __________________________________________________________________
    RELATED:
    “Don’t Run for the Sake of Running” (Konstantin Stanislavski)
    __________________________________________________________________

    He truly is the father of modern acting in the U.S. and around the world. Though he died nearly a century ago, his work lived on in the performances of some of our greatest actors. Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Dean, Robert DeNiro, Meryl Streep – you name it! They all have been influenced, either directly or indirectly by the work of Stanislavski.

    Here are seven basic facts about the great teacher:

  • #1: Stanislavski is the father of most modern acting techniques

    Whether you are “Meisner” or “Method” or draw influence from the teachings of Stella Adler, Uta Hagen or others, you are likely studying an offshoot of Stanislavski’s work. Nearly all the influential acting teachers of the 20th Century drew inspiration from the work of Konstantin Stanislavski. In fact, many of them trained under him directly.

  • #2: Stanislavski was not his birth name

    Konstantin Stanislavski was born Konstantin Sergeievich Alekseiev. The name “Stanislavski” was actually a stage name that he derived from a retired Polish actor, in order to save his family name from embarrassment, as he performed in risqué or hastily thrown-together theater productions. By day, he worked in his family’s business as Konstantin Alekseiev. At night, he would perform under his stage name, Konstantin Stanislavski. The name stuck, and he would continue to use and perform under the name, even after he rose to prominence.

    #3: He was a born actor

    He began performing in plays at age 7. He created his own circus, “Konstanzo Alekseyev’s Circus” and later a puppet theater. At the age of 14, his father, a wealthy businessman, turned a wing of their home into a theater for Stanislavski to perform his plays.

  • #4: Stanislavski was a drama school drop-out

    The father of most modern acting techniques was, of all things, a drama school drop-out. At age 21, he dropped out of the Imperial Dramatic School of Moscow, because he was disenchanted with the techniques he was being taught and felt they deprived him of his own individuality.

    He also believed that the techniques being taught only addressed external methods of acting and only focused on the final result, instead of focusing on methods that addressed the actor’s inner soul, as well as techniques and steps an actor could use to achieve that final result.

  • #5: Stanislavski created a “system”

    One of the things that set Stanislavski apart from other teachers was his relentless desire to consistently deliver “truth” in his acting performances. That drive for consistency and truth led him to create what became known as the “Stanislavski System”, or, simply, “the system”.

    His system, a collection of acting techniques, was designed to move actors beyond physical and vocal training as a sole focus. He believed actors should also dive into the inner motives of their character to justify physical and vocal actions. He wanted to remove what he called “blocks” and master the true nature of acting.

  • #6: Stanislavski helped found the world-renown Moscow Art Theater (MAT)


    Fed-up with the state of Russian theater – its theatricality, artificiality, staging and décor – Stanislavski, along with business partner, Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, began one of the most influential theaters of the 20th Century. The Moscow Art Theater (MAT) pioneered innovations in theater that became world renown, such as the use of more realistic sets and background and offstage sounds.

  • #7: Stanislavski authored a manual for actors

    Later in his career, Stanislavski sought to bring his collection of ideas on the craft of acting into a manual called, An Actor’s Work. Written in the form of a fictional student’s diary, the manual had to be broken down into three volumes. One volume, An Actor Prepares, focuses on the inner life of the character. The second volume, Building a Character, focuses on outer characterizations that flow from the character’s inner life. The final volume, Creating a Role, focused mainly on the application of his techniques into the rehearsal process.
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________
    You Might Also Like:
    5 Basic Facts about Lee Strasberg
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Recommended Posts

  • Ad

  • Why Building Relationships with Casting Directors is So Important

    Why Building Relationships with Casting Directors is So Important One of the best ways to improve your odds is to emphasize relationship-building as a core part of your strategy for success (by Carmichael…

    “You can’t rely on anyone to hand you anything in this business. Ever! So, just be creative.” (Joe Manganiello)

    “You can’t rely on anyone to hand you anything in this business. Ever! So, just be creative.” “So many times I meet people who [ask me], you know, ‘do you have any advice…

    What is the “Private Moment Exercise”?

    What is the “Private Moment Exercise”? The concentration that it takes to have a private moment in public, empowers the actor to bring a higher level of concentration to a character (by Tonya…

    Funny Feel-Facts, Part II

    Funny Feel-Facts, Part II (by Carmichael Phillips) Here are 5 more feel-facts about acting I’ve uncovered. Part 1 of my Feel-Facts series brought some laughs and inflamed some tensions, so I thought I’d…

    3 Reasons Why It Sucks to Do Student Films

    3 Reasons Why It Sucks to Do Student Films Yep. Sometimes they really do suck! (by Carmichael Phillips) Alright. Let’s light this candle! We’ve already given you the lowdown on how student films…

  • Ad

  • “No amount of failure…can dissuade a determined actor.” (Susan Saint James)

    “Through my own experiences and achievements, I have found that no amount of encouragement, help, or advice can make an unmotivated person a star, while at the same time, no amount of failure,…

    Set Aside One Day Each Week for Your Acting Business

    Set Aside One Day Each Week for Your Acting Business How setting aside an entire day can improve your acting business (by Jim Webb) The #actorslife is a hectic one. Between your survival…

    How to Turn Your Audition Trash into Audition Treasure

    How to Turn Your Audition Trash into Audition Treasure What if you used every bad audition as a kind of audition technique class? (by Carmichael Phillips) Let’s say, your recent audition was an…

  • Ad

  • What is “Type”?

    What is “Type”? An actor’s type plays an essential role in the casting process (by Tonya Tannenbaum) An actor’s “type” refers to the initial impression the average person tends to have about an…

    “The actor must constantly respond to stimuli that are imaginary.” (Lee Strasberg)

    “The human being who acts is the human being who lives. That is a terrifying circumstance. Essentially, the actor acts a fiction, a dream; in life, the stimuli to which we respond are…

    Don’t Audition Solely for the Purpose of Booking the Role

    Don’t Audition Solely for the Purpose of Booking the Role Always act in truth. (By Jim Webb) You are behind on your bills. You’re facing money shortages. You’re not entirely sure how you’ll…

    5 Good Reasons to Do Student Films

    5 Good Reasons to Do Student Films There are many actors who can cite chapter and verse their negative experiences doing student films. They can be a bit of a mixed bag. But…

    “If you want to be an actor…that has nothing to do with Hollywood.” (William H. Macy)

    “It’s one thing to become a better actor, it’s another thing to want to be somebody, or to want to be a star, or to get recognition. If you want to be an…

  • Ad

  • What is a “Student Film”?

    What is a “Student Film”? It is the making of the film itself, rather than the content of the film, that usually provides the educational value (by Tonya Tannenbaum) A “student film”, as…

    “This is a business of rejection.” (Bill Duke)

    “There’s a difference between waiting to be discovered by someone and discovering yourself. Waiting to be discovered and discovering yourself is a different consciousness.” (Bill Duke) Duke went on to explain: “This is…

    3 Reasons Your Audition Ended Quickly

    3 Reasons Your Audition Ended Quickly The speediness of the audition may have nothing at all to do with the actor’s performance in the audition room (by Jim Webb) That sinking feeling you…

  • Ad

  • 5 Basic Facts about Lee Strasberg

    5 Basic Facts about Lee Strasberg Here are some basic facts about the life and career of Mr. Lee Strasberg (by Jim Webb) Lee Strasberg was one of the most influential acting teachers…

    “I think it’s important to stand out and make bold decisions.” (Dacre Montgomery)

    “I think it’s important (for actors) to stand out and make bold decisions. And I think that, there’s not enough people in the world that encourage that for artists. And I think for…

    5 Funny Feel-Facts About Acting

    5 Funny Feel-Facts About the Business of Acting They’re not necessarily true for all actors. You can argue that they’re not true at all. But they feel good to say, so I said…

    3 Minor Violations to Avoid on Your Acting Résumé

    3 Minor Violations to Avoid on Your Acting Résumé When it comes to an actor’s résumé, there are differing levels of crime that an actor can commit. Here are 3 Minor Violations. (by…

    “If you get good enough, all that other stuff will take care of itself.” (Ed Harris)

    “I would just say, if this is something you’re pursuing as an actor… It’s one thing to learn about acting, it’s one thing to become a better actor, it’s another thing to want…

  • Ad

  • What are “Profiles”?

    What are “Profiles”? Profiles give casting a more complete picture of how the actor looks when performing on-camera (by Tonya Tannenbaum) Profiles are a request for additional information about an actor’s appearance, particularly…

    You’re Not Really Acting When You’re Over-Acting

    You’re not really acting when you’re over-acting It’s amateurish and does a disservice to the script, your fellow actors and to the audience. (by Jim Webb) It’s understandable for aspiring actors to want…

    “Don’t become an actor, unless you HAVE to.” (Mandy Patinkin)

    “Don’t become an actor, unless you HAVE to.” (Mandy Patinkin) Here’s the best thing I ever heard about acting, that my wife said: “Don’t do it (become an actor), unless you have to.”…

  • Ad

  • Today’s Rundown

    TODAY’S RUNDOWN Thought of the day: Thinking of quitting your acting career? Hang in there! You don’t have to have all the answers today. You only have to survive the day. #actorslife  …

    What is a “Sense Memory”?

    What is a “Sense Memory”? Armed with a sense memory, the actor’s experience is no longer rooted in fantasy. It is now real to them. (by Tonya Tannenbaum) Sense memory is an acting…

    Booking Commercials: Talent, Looks or Luck?

    Booking Commercials: Talent, Looks or Luck? What does it take for an actor to be successful in commercials? (by Carmichael Phillips) What does it take for an actor to be successful in commercials?…

    What are “Notes, Adjustments and Redirects”?

    What are “Notes, Adjustments and Redirects”? Regardless of what one might call them, these changes are usually necessary for a thorough evaluation of the actor’s fitness for the role being cast (By Tonya…

    Never Apologize When You Make a Mistake During an Audition

    Never Apologize When You Make a Mistake During an Audition Don’t apologize during an audition. Ever. If you stumble over your words or make a mistake, simply correct it. Confidently. (by Carmichael Phillips)…

    Never Do This on Your Acting Résumé!

      Never Do This on Your Acting Résumé! This is a brief “NEVER and WTF Were You Thinking!” list (By Carmichael Phillips) Sometimes there are “Should and Shouldn’t” lists. Sometimes there are “Do…

    5 General Rules for Demo Reels

      5 General Rules for Demo Reels Before you get knee-deep into this endeavor, there are a few general rules you should consider. (By Jim Webb) Are you putting your first demo reel…

    Before You Approach an Agent, Get Your S@#t Together!

    Before You Approach an Agent, Get Your S@#t Together! Before you approach an agent, make sure that you are ready to present yourself as an actor who understands the business and understands what…