“You might sometimes act badly, sometimes only satisfactorily (it often depends on your inner mood), but you should always act truthfully.”
The “father of realist acting” in Russia, Mikhail Semyonovich Shchepkin (November 17, 1788 – August 11, 1863) was one of the first acting theorists to approach the craft of acting as an experience. He believed the actor should perform a role on the basis of having an emotional connection to the character and the moment; a “heavenly spark”, as he called it, rather than performing the role mechanically, as was popular at the time. Shchepkin believed true acting meant “living the role”, whereby the actor cries, laughs, walks, talks, thinks, feels and behaves based on identifying with the feelings and circumstances of the character, rather than performing simply at the direction of the script.
Shchepkin’s theories had widespread influence on theater in Russia, and later, the world. Many of his ideas helped form the basis of Konstantin Stanislavski’s “system”, which continues to influence the way most modern actors approach the craft.