“Here, Today, Now”

Active Analysis for the twenty-first-century actor

Authored by: Bella Merlin

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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Active Analysis has been percolating into English-speaking theatre practice since the late 1990s, drawing largely on the legacy of actor-director Maria Knebel (1898–1985). Knebel trained with Stanislavsky in his Opera-Dramatic Studio from 1936 until his death in 1938 and became an inspirational teacher in her own right. During my own Russian training in 1993–4 at Moscow's State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK), I first encountered Active Analysis under the mastership of Albert Filozov, Vladimir Ananyev, and Katya Kamotskaya. 1 Prior to this training, I'd never heard of Active Analysis, let alone experienced it. My main understanding of Stanislavsky lay in or consisted of the application of objectives and actions, and breaking a scene down into “bits.” In my professional career, I'd rarely encountered directors who even addressed these tools by name. The year at VGIK was a revelation, and since that time, I've been applying Active Analysis to developing full-scale productions, scene studies, and master classes, and to deepening my own acting. In this chapter, I offer intrepid theatre makers various tried-and-tested strategies to explore for themselves the liberating practice of Active Analysis.

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