Konstantin Sergeievich Stanislavski (17 January [O.S. 5 January] 1863 – 7 August 1938) was a Russian actor and theatre director. The eponymous Stanislavski method, or simply “method acting”, has had a pervasive influence, especially in the period after World War II.
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 one of the great modern theatre practitioners.
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.
A Level Drama Theorists Comprehensive biography of Stanislavski and his acting system. Also includes a biogrpahy of Bertolt Brecht
Better Acting Group Brief biogrpahy of Stanislavski.
Crying Sky Productions Comprehensive biography of Stanislavski.
Google Image Search Pictures of Stanislavski.
Gravesite Information and picture of Stanislavski’s grave in Moscow.
Northwestern University Brief biography of Stanislavski.
Russian Theatre Website 20,000 word essay “Meyerhold and Stanislavsky: Art and Politics in the Russian Theatre (1898 -1940) “. This outstanding resource examines the effect Soviet politics had on the efforts of these two great Russian practitioners in their search for theatre.
The Method Fest Excellent article by Ron Gilbert, Actor’s Studio member, that discusses the origins of The Method in America. With references to Stanislavski, Lee Strasberg, Michael Chekhov, Stella Adler, Elia Kazan, Meyerhold and others, this essay paints an accurate picture of both the beauty and misunderstandings of Method acting. Note: this article was taken off the web, so has now been found in archives and may appear a little deformed on the web page.