According to “The Art of the Actor: The Essential History of Acting, from Classical Times to the Present Day” by Jean Benedetti, “Acting is a way of showing our understanding of the world and passing it on to other people” (1). Such affirmation has proven itself to be true if history is taken into consideration. One of the oldest forms of art and career throughout history, acting has established itself as one of the most prominent and yet unstable careers of all times. Its vast history provides anyone who dares to become an actor with a great understanding of the different societies throughout the years and profound meaning to why, despite all adversities, it is still one of the most wanted careers. More than only a job, and differently from many work fields, acting is about passion and the ability to transmit reality within fantasy. But why acting? Because it is a career related to every other existing one; and being successful in it requires more than what one would think.
Dating back to ancient Greek theater in the sixth century BC, acting has tremendously evolved and become more than the plays acted in the Roman period. As it continues to evolve until this day, it is important to look into history to understand the present era of the career in acting. For Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, acting is “the right management of the voice to express various emotions,” considered to be a talent rather than a skill to be taught. While growing in Greece, the acting field was supported by a lack of subtleness and a great variety of huge costumes; all played in outdoor theaters with books, the written version of the play, written by Euripides and Sophocles. Despite the expansion in Greek theaters, acting as an art began to decline during the Christian rule in the Rome Empire. Liturgical drama, however, began to exist and would be performed
throughout the Middle Ages by jugglers and acrobats. Regaining its force in the 16th century with the Italian comedy, modern professional acting emerged. Writers like William Shakespeare gained space with that type of playwright. Contradicting its success during that time, it was not until the 18th century that acting started to be considered as a serious profession, when Charles Macklin and David Garrick introduced a new set of movements and acting style that spread across Europe.
Changing the world of acting as known until then, Constantin Sergeyevich Stanislavski was a Russian actor and theater director whose studying and influences created the nowadays known as the “Stanislavski’s System.” Co-founder of the Moscow Art Theater, Stanislavski defined four main kinds of performance, as discussed in Benedetti’s book: “hack-work, where the actor merely creates a string of clichés without any real thought; representation; experiencing, where the actor in some measure feels the emotions he is playing; and a combination of all three methods” (110). In his method, actors were encouraged to search the relevance of the...