"What Are The Basic Tenets Of Realism And Naturalism? Why Are Stanislavski's System And Chekov's Plays Perfect Vehicles For Them?

1034 words - 4 pages

Throughout the history of theatre there have been many schools and styles. Theatre is ever changing as a reflection of society and what society wants. But out of all these styles, there are two which, when blended, produce a type of theatre that can always live and flow with society and not drastically alter to fit in with the world's ever changing ways. These are Realism and Naturalism. When combined, they form a powerful, truthful and powerfully real theatre. The two men who have best managed to best combine these two elements are Konstantin Stanislavski with his "system," and Anton Chekov with his dramatic writings and specifically, with his work in The Cherry OrchardThe main beliefs of Realism and Naturalism are that the theatre needs to shun melodrama and spectacle and, instead, present something that is real and true to life. They believe that the most influential factors in a person's life are heredity and environment, and they feel that the characters shown need to be more that two dimensional stock characters. They need to have real motives and emotions and possess all the complexities that go into making a true personality and a true person. Naturalists feel that plays should not be written in any sort of dramatic sequence or structure because that is not true to life. Realists embrace the desire for reality on stage, but also feel that dramatic structure follows the actual structure of life and structure and poetry should be integral parts of drama.Konstantin Stanislavski felt that same need for reality on the stage. He spent the majority of his life searching for how an actor can create truth on stage and, in doing so, he tapped into many of the same veins of humanity that Naturalists and Realists did. He expressed the same desire of Naturalists for a realistic theatre that shows life with its dramatic structure and intrigue. ". . . I was beginning to look for genuine life in [the theatre], not ordinary life, of course, but artistic life" (Bentley, 220). And he went looking for it the same way that realists and naturalists did. He began to look for a natural order for things and to devise a systematic plan from that natural base. He went looking for truth. And, again, he found it in the same place as the Naturalists and realists did. He found that, for an actor to bring full life to a character and full reality to the stage, he must both create a character with a real soul, and he must not rely on stage tricks to do so. "An actor, [Stanislavski] thought, must have some sort of spiritual preparation before the beginning of a performance. Not only his body, but also his spirit must put on new clothes" (222). This type of acting blends perfectly with realistic drama, which contains characters whose souls are inherent to the script. He did not, however, feel that he was subscribing to either school...

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