The Legacy of Stanislavsky'S Ideas In Non-Realistic Theatre

Authored by: Dennis C. Beck

The Routledge Companion to Stanislavsky

Print publication date:  October  2013
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415535649
eBook ISBN: 9780203112304
Adobe ISBN: 9781136281853


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Konstantin Stanislavsky's impulse impelled him consistently into the untried. The formation of the Moscow Art Theatre stands as an initial but ironic testament to that tendency. Later events and crises in the 1904–7 period linked the crisis he experienced in acting with problems he identified with theatrical form. “Had Stanislavsky remained a successful director of Chekhov and similar plays of realism and mood,” observes Mel Gordon, “there would have been no need to invent an acting methodology” (1987: 36). But when he developed studios fully or largely independent of the Art Theatre to “once again establish a place where experimentation could flourish” (Gauss 1999: 29), an elemental rift opened. Nemirovich-Danchenko complained bitterly that Stanislavsky's focus on “productional expression” was often “in conflict with my literary treatment” (Nemirovich-Dantchenko 1968: 107). Hence, philosophical radicalism found no place in the institution. “Two key aspects of the System — its connection with forms of artistic expression other than Realism and its ever-changing, dynamic nature — sadly pushed Stanislavsky out of his own theatre,” observes Sharon M. Carnicke. Nemirovich-Danchenko and the theatre that “refused to incorporate his most forward-looking ideas” (Carnicke 2009: 35) actively contributed to the monuments of Stanislavsky carved primarily in Russia and the United States that obstruct the applicability of his ideas to non-realist and “experimental” performance.

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