An Actor's Work.

AuthorMillard, Elizabeth
PositionBook review

Work Title: An Actor's Work

Work Author(s): Konstantin Stanislavski and Jean Benedetti, translator


702 pages; Hardcover $35.00


ISBN: 9780415422239

Reviewer: Elizabeth Millard

Widely considered to be one of the greatest acting teachers in history, Konstantin Stanislavski inspired a "method" that is still taught today, nearly ninety years after its introduction. In this important translation, editor Jean Benedetti is sure to bring the master to a new class of students, and keep the method going strong for decades to come.

A Russian actor and theater director, Stanislavski was one of the first to regard acting as a craft that required rigor and integrity to perfect. His "system" may contain some commonsense elements, such as plumbing the emotional depths of a character, but that's likely because his style has been so adopted by serious actors.

Benedetti has done a great service in creating a very readable blend of two of Stanislavski's books, previously known as An Actor Prepares and Building a Character. Both have the same, mildly precious device: rather than simply espousing his theories, Stanislavski presents the books as "lecture notes" and diary entries related to a series of talks given by "well-known actor, director and teacher Arkady Tortsov."

Stanislavski pretends to be the wide-eyed student, but in fact, there's no real Tortsov, it's merely the teacher hiding behind yet another character of his own design. But the principles he espouses are so straightforward that they can be applied to many types of art, and even many other kinds...

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