Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Constantin Stanislavski | An Actor Prepares | 1936

Dear Torstov,

I've been quite taken by recent transcriptions of your workshops on acting. You have all these great secrets for developing one's character. Reading the play dozens of times; examining motivations; building on personal experience etc.

I get it, makes so much sense. But, I'm wondering how to make all this work if I'm not, and have never been, an actor. I still want my actions and words to be filled with life and authenticity; and they should emerge organically from that seed of truth--planted in the soil of my own imagination-- which produces the outer life of my own role. I've reread old journals and emails and considered my objectives. What are your recommendations?

So for example, how do you prepare to buy groceries? They say never to grocery shop on an empty stomach, but I imagine you do that habitually. What about talking with an attractive women at the bookstore? Do you guess at her psychological history before starting a conversation? Obviously you don't go up to her without having established an authentic foundation of inner technique.

When your students performed a scene Othello, you said, "The first false note was the excessive bustling. It derived from your great anxiety to entertain us and not from any intention to carry out specific objectives." And that makes me wonder if you always have that specificity while waking up or making breakfast, or at ten minutes before the end of your lunch break. I suppose you just move and speak and think from that "organic seed of truth"? Right? How do I shed all this bustling?

Noah Levine