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Discuss The Development Of – And Contrasting – Approaches To Psychological Realism In Actor Training During The Twentieth Century

1262 words - 6 pages

Psychological Realism was used experimentally in the 19th century to make theatre more useful to society. At the time, the mainstream theatre was still tied up in Melodrama. The type of acting at this time was very much exaggerated, for example, if a character had misplaced their keys or another action that in real life might aggravate someone, an actor in a melodramatic piece would be in hysterics, screaming or crying, extremely exaggerated actions as if someone had died. . The idea of realist theatre was that theatre should represent ‘real’ life in every way possible to the minutest of details, and that “Drama was to involve the direct observation of human behaviour; therefore, there was a ...view middle of the document...

He was an actor/director between 1869-1906, a director 1906-1927 and a writer from 1927-1938. In order to understand Stanislavski’s ‘system by breaking down each step’ and how it helps an actor to understand and develop a character.
Stanislavski’s innovative theory was based around realism; his ‘system of acting’ was used to train the actor to portray a real ‘day to day’ style and to draw believable emotions into their performances. His aim was to train the actor until he/she would be able to use his technique to turn the play into a theatrical reality. In this process the imagination plays by far the greatest part.

The concept of emotional memory played a huge factor in Stanislavski’s ‘system’ because it allowed the actor to draw from their own particular experiences to help add importance and emotion to their respective character. “The main factor in any form of creativeness is the life of a human spirit, that of the actor and his part, their joint feelings and subconscious creation.” – (Stanislavski, 1929, P52). Stanislavsky outlined the importance of the actors feeling the emotion of the character; he wanted his students to put themselves in the same mind-set as the character portraying. If an actor had difficulty portraying a certain type of emotion, Stanislavski advised his students to delve into personal memories and recall upon a similar life experience.
.Another important sector in Stanislavski’s ‘system’ was observation; he maintained his emphasis on observation by asking his students to observe other people’s personalities and physical traits, underlining the importance on both because if you’re trying to make theatre as realistic and as believable as possible, then there is nobody better to observe than the people around you. Stanislavski’s analysis of ‘everyday people’ was a reminder that everyone was unique; everyone has traits which are personal to them, thus giving the actor inspiration to build a character with their own unique traits which makes it more believable and lifelike.
Motivation was another important step that Stanislavski outlined. He asked his students to question the motivation behind every sentence and every movement on stage. He used physical actions as a means to access truthful emotion, and involved improvisation. The focus remained on reaching the subconscious through the conscious. There may be some movements that even the playwright might not have justification for and has merely put it in there for the sake of convenience. Stanislavski urged his students to study the text thoroughly to determine the motivation behind a character's words and actions. This was called the ‘Magic If’, which urges the actor to ask “Where am I going now?” or “Why am I moving here?”
Konstantin Stanislavsky’s quest for the truth on stage concluded in a revolution in the way an actor rehearsed and performed....

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