Konstantin Stanislavsky

Biography of Konstantin Stanislavsky

Konstantin Sergeyevich Stanislavski 17 January 1863 – 7 August 1938) was a Russian actor and theatre director. His system of acting has developed an international reach.

Stanislavski treated theatre-making as a serious endeavour, requiring dedication, discipline and integrity. Throughout his life, he subjected his own acting to a process of rigorous artistic self-analysis and reflection. His development of a theorized praxis – in which practice is used as a mode of inquiry and theory as a catalyst for creative development – identifies him as the first great theatre practitioner.

Stanislavski's work was as important to the development of socialist realism in the Soviet Union as it was to that of psychological realism in the United States. It draws on a wide range of influences and ideas, including his study of the modernist and avant-garde developments of his time (naturalism, symbolism and Meyerhold's constructivism), Russian formalism, Yoga, Pavlovian behavioural psychology, James-Lange (via Ribot) psychophysiology and the aesthetics of Pushkin, Gogol, and Tolstoy. He described his approach as 'spiritual Realism'.

Stanislavski wrote several works, including An Actor Prepares, An Actor's Work on a Role, and his autobiography, My Life in Art.

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