Vasili Toporkov was one of the rare outsiders ever to be invited to join the Moscow Art Theatre. Although already an experienced and accomplished artist, he was forced to retrain as an actor under Stanislavski's rigorous guidance. This is Toporkov's account of this learning process, offering an insight into Stanislavski's legendary "system" and his method of rehearsal that became known as the method of physical action. Spanning ten years - from 1928 to 1938 - Toporkov charts the last crucial years of Stanislavski's work as a director. Toporkov reveals Stanislavski as a multi-faceted personality - funny, furious, kind, ruthless, encouraging, exacting - waging war against clichés and quick answers, inspiring his actors and driving to despair in his pursuit of artistic perfection.
Jean Benedetti's new translation of Toporkov's invaluable record restores to us the vitality and insight of Stanislavski's mature thoughts on acting.
Professor Jean Benedetti, biographer of Stanislavski and authority on the director's work, is the author of many books on theater. His Stanislavski: An Introduction is published in a new edition this year by Routledge. An authority on Russian theatre, Jean Benedetti's biography of Stanislavski was praised for its "clarity of shape, firmness of purpose and fullness of emotion" (The Guardian). A teacher, translator, and writer, he is Honorary Professor at the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama and at Queen Margaret University College Edinburgh.