Experiencing Stanislavsky Today: Training and Rehearsal for the Psychophysical Actor, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Experiencing Stanislavsky Today

Training and Rehearsal for the Psychophysical Actor, 1st Edition

By Stephanie Daventry French, Philip G. Bennett


606 pages

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This pioneering introduction to Stanislavsky's methods and modes of actor training covers all of the essential elements of his System. Recreating ‘truthful’ behaviour in the artificial environment, awareness and observation, psychophysical work, given circumstances, visualization and imagination, and active analysis are all introduced and explored.

  • Each section of the book is accompanied by individual and group exercises, forming a full course of study in the foundations of modern acting.
  • A glossary explains the key terms and concepts that are central to Stanislavsky’s thinking at a glance.
  • The book’s companion website is full of downloadable worksheets and resources for teachers and students.

Experiencing Stanislavsky Today is enhanced by contemporary findings in psychology, neuroscience, anatomy and physiology that illuminate the human processes important to actors, such as voice and speech, creativity, mind-body connection, the process and the production of emotions on cue. It is the definitive first step for anyone encountering Stanislavsky’s work, from acting students exploring his methods for the first time, to directors looking for effective rehearsal tools and teachers mapping out degree classes.


"An excellent acting textbook for any instructor aiming to provide a thorough overview of the System. Its wealth of references to other performance practices as well as its solid foundation in the latest scientific research offers an excellent blend of traditional and contemporary acting theory and practice."

  • Theatre Library Association

"This is an incredible book. A wonderful comprehensive examination of the subject and powerful exercises to work the acting theory."

  • Robert Yowell, Northern Arizona University, USA

"The book offers an extensive collection of Stanislavskian techniques, extending them in a way that is accessible to the classroom. It makes convincingly the case that Stanislavskian techniques still have relevance to the training of contemporary actors."

  • Konstantinos Thomaidis, University of Portsmouth, UK

"A wonderful compilation of historical perspective and creative explorations. Expertly defines and explains Stanislavsky's approach and impact on actor training."

  • Shawn J. Clerkin, Gannon University, USA

"Fantastic discussion of body, voice, mind, and spirit as they pertain to acting technique."

  • Leah Roy, Wake Forest University, USA

"Provides a deep and respectful understanding of the basic principles and working methods of Stanislavsky."

  • Kirsten Due Kjeldsen, VIA University College, Denmark

Table of Contents

1. Invitation to the Quest for Inspiration 2. The Actor's Palette: Interconnected elements of actions 3. Preparing for Inspiration: The creative state 4. Dedication to the Creative Space 5. The Psychophysical Instrument: Exploring mind-body connections 6. Communion: Deepening communication and mutual influence 7. Givens: Discovering and endowing circumstances 8. Non-Verbal Action: Communicating through behaviour 9. Embodying Voice and Speech 10. Verbal Action: Communicating with words and subtext 11. Emotional Experience 12. Reconnaissance: Mining the script and expanding to meet its challenges 13. Active Analysis through Events and Character Embodiment 14. Active Analysis through Psychophysical Action - Discoveries on the way to experiencing a role 15. Collaboration: Entering the production and rehearsal process 16. Experiencing the Creative Life: Communion with audience and society 17. The Evolving Stanislavsky System Appendices

About the Authors


Stephanie Daventry French has directed over 40 productions using Stanislavsky's Active Analysis. She teaches the Stanislavsky System integrated with many other techniques as head of the Acting for Theatre, Television and Film track at East Stroudsburg University.

Philip G. Bennett has been an actor, teacher and director of the Stanislavsky System since 1969 - Artistic Director of the San Francisco Theatre Academy 1976-1984, the Bennett TheatreLab & Conservatory 1984-present, and Assistant Artistic Director to Russian emegré teacher, Sonia Moore, American Stanislavski Theatre, 1969 – 1975.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General