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An Actor Prepares

One of the first names that comes to mind in the study of acting is the great Russian teacher, Constantin Stanislavski. In his legendary book, ‘The Actor Prepares’ readers discover the humanity of the man as well as his wisdom. His sometimes funny, common sense, conversational writing style was a break from tradition and mirrored his new acting technique known as ‘The Method.’ With many Moscow Arts Company productions to his credit, Stanislavski wanted to share his new acting style with an outside world far beyond his rehearsal hall.

His ‘Method’ was a system of techniques that would allow actors to play more believable roles by immersing themselves and become the characters they would play. He couched his effort by describing an actor’s journey through a series of rehearsals and exercises designed to improve his craft. In so doing, Stanislavski details his own intellectual and emotional reaction to each effort. His introduction to concepts ‘the magic if,’ ‘the unbroken line’ and emotional memory have become tools used in much of the great acting of the 20th Century. Stanislavski’s early 1900’s texts and writings crafted over 100 years ago, remain as a valuable read for actors today as it did at the turn of the last century.

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