Building a Character is one of the three volumes that make up Stanislavski’s The Acting Trilogy.
An Actor Prepares explores the inner preparation an actor must undergo in order to explore a role to the full. In this volume, Sir John Gielgud said, this great director “found time to explain a thousand things that have always troubled actors and fascinated students.”
Building a Character discusses the external techniques of acting: the use of the body, movement, diction, singing, expression, and control.
Creating a Role describes the preparation that precedes actual performance, with extensive discussions of Gogol’s The Inspector General and Shakespeare’s Othello. Sir Paul Scofield called Creating a Role “immeasurably important” for the actor.
These three volumes belong on any actor’s short shelf of essential books.
Constantin Stanislavski (1863-1938), arguably the most influential director in the history of the theater, was the founder of the renowned Moscow Art Theater. A pioneer of psychological realism and improvisation on the stage, he devoted his life to developing the performance techniques now emulated throughout the world.
"Indispensable for the actor, stimulating for the layman." -- The Nation
"Anyone who attempts to train actors or to direct plays will find here a great mine of practical wisdom, all informed by Stanislavski's grasp of the art itself." -- Francis Fergusson, Educational Theatre Journal
"In (this book) Stanislavski, assuming the reader's familiarity with the 'inner technique', proceeds to study costume and the wearing of costume, bodily movement, voice, speech and the use of language, and tempo and rhythm-- the more external but essential techniques whereby the actor learns to use his physical instrument . . . and he expounds them as only a master can; i.e., with the insight and authority of talent plus expeirence. Anyone who attempts to train actors or to direct plays will find here a great mine of practical wisdom." -- Francis Fergusson, Education Theatre Journal
"The chapter on Diction and Singing offers an analysis of basic problems of singing that is unrivaled." -- Musical America