Stanislavsky's System and Women

A feminist reading of new translations

Authored by: Rosemary Malague

The Routledge Companion to Stanislavsky

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

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

10.4324/9780203112304.ch9

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Abstract

Why, within this Companion to Stanislavsky, is there the need for an essay devoted to the subject, “Stanislavsky's System and women”? It has become de rigueur, in the past few decades, for feminist practitioners and scholars to regard the Stanislavsky System of acting with profound suspicion. Sue-Ellen Case's 1988 book, Feminism and Theatre, broke ground in its eponymous field of study, and her provocative pronouncements on Stanislavskian acting established the foundation on which much subsequent criticism was built. Rejecting the positioning of women in canonical plays and conventional productions, Case wrote, “The psychological construction of character, using techniques adapted from Stanislavski, places the female actor within the range of systems that have oppressed her very representation on stage” (Case 1988: 122). These damning words articulated feminist misgivings that were already in the zeitgeist, and gave them the force — and permanence — of the printed page.

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