If you have taken or are currently taking a drama class, then chances are you are familiar with the Stanislavsky acting method. Constantin Stanislavsky gained prominence early in the 20th century both as an actor and a director. Known as the”Father of Method Acting”, Stanislavsky created an acting system that is founded on realism. Until today, this system continues to influence the various acting methods being used in America.
Imagination and Emotions
Stanislavsky believes that in order to achieve realism in acting, the stage actor must be able to believe the circumstances occurring in the play. Therefore, he must use his imagination. One effective method that you (as an actor) can use to achieve realism is by asking yourself the “what if” question: “What if this situation was really happening to me?”
It’s also not enough to rely on what’s written on the script about your character. It’s also a good idea to have a deeper understanding of your role by asking yourself some questions that can help you get to know your character more. “What does my character want?” “Where does my character come from and where does he wish to go?”
If you find it difficult to focus on your character’s emotions, it might help to imagine your motivation and objective instead. You can then translate your character’s motives into actions. For instance, does your character want to help or to sabotage someone? Or does he wish to chase or run away from a certain situation?
Overcoming Stage Fright
Stage fright is certainly one of the most common problems that a lot of beginning actors come across with. Even if you don’t have stage fright, there may be times when you feel tense performing in front of an audience. To help you overcome this anxiety, Stanislavsky recommends practicing to achieve “solitude in public”. You can start by picking out a small area in the stage and considering that as your private space. Gradually, you can start widening this private space until it becomes the entire stage.
Building your character involves more than just exploring his emotional condition. In the Stanislavsky acting system, actors are also encouraged to develop their characters from the outside. For instance, your character might have a certain way of walking or speaking. These seemingly little physical details can have a big impact on the development of your character.
What To Expect From The Stanislavsky System
Relaxation exercises are an important part of the Stanislavsky acting method. Once you have accomplished these exercises, you can then begin working on your concentration. For advanced actors, they can improve concentration through “emotional memory exercises” (also known as “sensory exercises”). These exercises involve re-creating the circumstances of the scene in his imagination. For instance, if the scene requires you to look guilty, you might want to recall a similar situation where you also did something terrible but did not want to admit to it right away.
As mentioned, the character’s physicality is also emphasized in the Stanislavsky acting system. Expect to spend a lot of time practicing your speech. You might also be required to take other performing classes that can contribute to your acting as well, such as singing and dance.