Science and the Stanislavsky Tradition of Acting: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Science and the Stanislavsky Tradition of Acting

1st Edition

By Jonathan Pitches


226 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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Providing new insight into the well-known tradition of acting, Science and the Stanislavsky Tradition of Acting is the first book to contextualise the Stanislavsky tradition with reference to parallel developments in science. Rooted in practice, it presents an alternative perspective based on philosophy, physics, romantic science and theories of industrial management.

Working from historical and archive material, as well as practical sources, Jonathan Pitches traces an evolutionary journey of actor training from the roots of the Russian tradition, Konstantin Stanislavsky, to the contemporary Muscovite director, Anatoly Vasiliev. The book explores two key developments that emerge from Stanislavsky’s system – one linear, rational and empirical, while the other is fluid,organic and intuitive. The otherwise highly contrasting acting theories of Vsevolod Meyerhold (biomechanics) and Lee Strasberg (the Method) are dealt with under the banner of the rational or Newtonian paradigm; Michael Chekov’s acting technique and the little known ideas of Anatoly Vasiliev form the centrepiece of the other Romantic, organic strain of practice.

Science and the Stanislavsky Tradition of Acting opens up the theatre laboratories of five major practitioners in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and scrutinises their acting methodologies from a scientific perspective.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Science and the Stanislavsky Tradition of Acting Part 1. 1. A System for the World? Newtonianism in Stanislavsky’s Science of Acting Part 2. 2. The Theatricality Reflex: The Place of Pavlov and Taylor in Meyerhold’s Biomechanics 3. The System, Psychology and the US: Richard Boleslavsky and Lee Strasberg Part 3. 4. A Delicate Empiricism: Romantic Science and the Michael Chekhov Technique 5. The Laboratory as Sanctuary: The Theatre of Anatoly Vasiliev Epilogue: Genetic Modification and the Backbone of Tradition Bibliography. Index

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Theatre & Performance Studies

This series is our home for cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections. Considering theatre and performance alongside topics such as religion, politics, gender, race, ecology, and the avant-garde, titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Acting & Auditioning
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / History & Criticism