Celebrity is death --- celebrity -- that's the worst thing that can happen to an actor. ~ John Cusack
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The conversation between Stanislavsky and Michoels about the fight of a bird, how does it begin. "No, answered Stanislavsky, before bird stretches the wings, it needs 'free' breathing, the lungs full of air -- and then the bird becomes proud and could fly." This bird is actor, of course.
Yes, yes... the goodbye.
I hope that I connected it right; in Film Directing I have only one page on actors and acting (no special course "Acting for the Camera). The same with the Stagematrix: Theatre directing -- I keep saying take acting classes, we have no time to talk about "how to work with actors"...
There a couple way to go from here: directing, and -- Theatre Theory; The Book of Spectator (I presume that you already went through the Script Analysis pages by now).
SummaryI moved and keep moving most interesting issues into Theatre Theory directory. Yes, "acting" is a part of the Virtual Theatre files (the future of theatre). Yes, there are even more complex topics connected with Method Acting, but they are not for class...
QuestionsYou have to have questions, because all what you do on stage is posing the questions for the public to answer! The difficult ones are the best. The questions they have no answers. The questions they ask themselves every day, their entire life! Do you know those questions? No? How come? Didn't you come on stage from the house? I thought that you are the most active active spectator, the one who needs answers so bad that he got on stage...
NotesGlossary for "Theology & Method," in Russian (see Theatre Theory Directory).
I ask in class: do you have a list of your problems? As an actor, do you know what is not under your control? Do you know your shortcomings? You should. Write it down. It's easy, if you do it for every character you are working on. If you keep the long of your problems, you will learn how to stay focused, how to have big targets, how to work on yourself.
2005 * After so many years of webbing I cannot change the nature of my webpages -- they are what they were from the start; notes, thoughts, points I make for myself for classes and productions. Do they have an independent existence? Maybe, somewhere in the future...
2005 updates: Small Chekhov Fall * "Four Farces & One Funeral" -- Chekhov.05
Talent is the felicitous combination of many creative capacities in a person, governed by his generative will.
Technique exists above all for those who possess talent [and] inspiration. . . . It serves consciously to stimulate super conscious creativity. The more talent the actor has the more he cares about his technique.
A true creative state while on the stage, and all the elements that go to compose it, were the natural endowment of Shchepkin, Ermolova, Duse, Salvini. Nevertheless, they worked unremittingly on their technique. . . . Inspiration came to them by natural means almost every time they repeated a role, yet all their lives they sought an approach to it.
In our art it is very dangerous to mature too rapidly . . . without determined effort. . . . A talent may be no more than a pretty toy rattle. Talent includes physical attributes . . . memory, imagination, sensitiveness, impressionability. . . . A person may be ugly in real life . . . but fascinating on the stage, and that is better than being beautiful. One may have only a modicum of various qualities but make a powerful effect if possessed of stage charm. On the contrary a much larger talent may be utterly ineffective, lacking the power to attract. --Building a Character
Summer 2010 :
When you go into the professional world, at a stock theater somewhere, backstage you will meet an older actor--someone who has been around awhile. He will tell you tales and anecdotes about life in the theater. He will speak to you about your performance and the performances of others, and he will generalize to you, based on his experience and his intuitions, about the laws of the stage. Ignore this man. -- Sanford MeisnerPractical applications of theory are in training. And first of all, mental attitude. Understanding and realization that movement must be dramatically structured. Changes must be expressed physically in space and time.
If you think it's too complicated, you are right, and you should know what's ahead of you in Method Acting on stage. Could you progress without knowledge of acting theory? Could you be an inventor without engineering degree? Be a CEO without MBA? A musician without knowledge of solfeggio? A surgeon not knowing the anatomy? There are no short cuts in any profession. Sooner or later you have to learn it, if you stay with profession.
But first, we have to change the attitude about studying acting.
... you have to change yourself, my friend....With horror and amusement I saw thousands in NYC who are after ten, twenty, thirty years since graduation still were trying to break into business. The grand illusion is that acting is easy, simple, fun.
Since most of acting is acquired through experience, it's extremely difficult to bring it in formulas, terminology and rules. Acting theories are relatively new. Most of the theatre schools appeared only half a century ago, but mass society, which is a communication society, asks for mass market for acting.
This is how-to-do-it-yourself acting book. After you read it, you do it!
Discipline isn't possible without limitations. Instead of your mind's limitations get laws which will teach you by giving the limits.
I don't like constructivism terminology (mechanics, building a character, and etc.) I believe that we discover things (which look like our inventions).
"The great system of Stanislavsky, which for the first time approached the whole art of acting from the point of view of science and knowledge, has done as much harm as good to many young actors, who misread it in detail and only take away a good hatred of the shoddy." (B 428)Of course, there's a danger that it could be taken mechanically, as the only answer, not a tool. Any power tool is a danger also.
"At least one can see that everything is a language for something and nothing is a language for everything." (B 429)Actor is a carrier of theatre. He alone creates the space and time of performance. He is a magician. We rediscovered that a shaman was not at the beginning, but always with actor.
Now you're ready for Method Acting Theory...
Sorry, I forgot to tell you about the need to learn the theory of theatre.
... Though method acting has often been misunderstood or stereotyped to negative effect, causing criticism and even splintering among method acting factions, it remains, as a whole, a successful movement. It allows both creative freedom and room for the individual nature of its participants, but also creates concrete ways of tackling the more abstract portions of the art and fully inhabiting another mind, body and soul.
Moscow, Moscow, Moscow......I do not know how much teaching I will do in Moscow (if any), or even the webbing. I'm tired of full-time teaching. I have no time for writing. Nothing could be changed right now. I have no weekend, no vocations -- and still I have no time for myself.
Dean CLA University of Alaska Fairbanks
John Leipzig, Ph.D
Theatre Department Head
Tara Maginnis, Ph.D firstname.lastname@example.org
Fairbanks AK 99775 USA
907-474-6590The School of the Moscow Art Theatre would like to invite prof. Anatoly Antohin to Russia for the Summer 2002 for consultations, regarding our new International Directing Center. We plan to establish a studio environment for young directors to combine Stanislavsky and Meyerhold's approaches to staging. The program will be open as MFA for the graduates of BA in directing, acting, design and other fine arts areas.
The Moscow Art Theater School was founded in 1943 by Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko who was one of the founders of the Moscow Art Theater. The Moscow Art Theater School is now headed by Anatoly Smelyansky, Ph.D. The acting faculty of the studio is supervised by Oleg Tabakov, who is one of the most famous Russian actors and artistic director of the Moscow Art Theater. Since the end of the 1980s the Moscow Art Theater School has had partnership relations with leading theater school around the world. Within this period the school had many educational exchanges with the School of Art of North Carolina, Florida State University, New York University, National Theater School of Canada, Paris Conservatory, London Academy of Music and Drama, Julliard Theater School in New York. In Summer of 1998, a new international program of the Moscow Art Theater School started. It was a co-program of the Moscow Art Theater School and the Institute of theater training at Harvard University. This program provides professional courses for actors, directors and theater dramaturgs. The teachers of the two institutions developed a comprehensive curriculum for the new program. The students of the program study and perform their productions in Moscow and Cambridge. The curriculum includes acting classes, stage speech & voice, stage movement, dance, history of world theater and so forth. Diploma works of the American Studio of the Moscow Art Theater are performed at the Student Theater of the Moscow Art Theater School. The Moscow Art Theater School has been a part of international program of theater education in cooperation with National Theater Institute of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. The program was initiated ten years ago with support of American Soviet Theater Initiative, Moscow Art Theater and Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. During these ten years the program has hosted more than one hundred thirty students.
The Moscow Art Theatre School is traditionally an acting school, but with the help of the Meyerhold Center we plan to develop the new directing program. Prof. Antohin's Russian and American experience and his work with the Russian American Theatre program in 1992-94 in St. Petersburg (including the Fulbright scholarship) could help the Moscow Art Theatre Directing Center to shape our curricula aimed not only at Russian, but International students.
Anatoly Antohin also expressed an interest in research of the new materials on Stanislavsky and Meyerhold, which became available recently. We will be happy to see and work with him again in Moscow.
Dr. Anatoly Smeliansky,
Head of the the Moscow Art Theatre School
МХАТ им. Чехова, 2001
Камергерский пер., д. 3
Тел.: 229-87-60, 292-67-48
My PS? Finish the textbooks (including this "Method Acting for Directors"). Alas, there are several new components, completely undeveloped -- Yoga and Freud. Should I moved them out, into Theatre Theory? Well, the bridge between Method and Biomechanics will be missing...
[ where are the notes about Russian Stanislavsky v. American Stanislavsky? ]
I am not even sure which language to use for new pages... Spring 2002
... Good actors are good because of the things they can tell us without talking. When they are talking they are the slaves of the dramatist. It is what they can show the audience when they are not talking that reveals the fine actor. --Cedric Hardwicke "Acting is half shame, half glory. Shame at exhibiting yourself, glory when you can forget yourself." --John Gielgud
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[A]nd I will devote myself from now on exclusively to the theatre as I conceive it, a theatre of blood, a theatre which at each performance will stir something in the body of the performer as well as the spectator of the play, but actually, the actor does not perform, he creates. Theatre is in reality the genesis of creation: It will come about. Artaud, Letter to Paule Thévenin. Tuesday 24th February, 1948. (Schumacher 1989, 200)
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