Stanislavski was a Russian actor/director/teacher who worked in Moscow until his death in the early 20th century. His "Method" of acting is today widely revered and implemented around the world. He was the first to popularize romantic realism in theatre. I would like to write an essay on his life some time in the future, but for now I want to present some quotes of his that moved me:
- "What does it really mean to be truthful on stage? Does it mean that you conduct yourself as you do in ordinary life? Not at all. Truthfulness in those terms would be sheer triviality. There is the the same difference between artistic and inartistic truth as exists between a painting and a photograph: the latter produces everything, the former only what is essential; to put the essential on canvas requires the talent of a painter."
- "Learn to see, hear, love life - learn to carry this over into art, use it to fill the image you create for yourself..."
- "What I have wanted to learn was how [through training] to create at will a condition favorable to the appearance of inspiration, a condition in the presence of which inspiration was most likely to flow into the actor's soul, and make this no longer a matter of mere accident."
- "There are no physical actions divorced from some desire, some effort in some direction, some objective, without one feeling inwardly a justification for them..."
- "Inspiration is born of hard work. It is not the other way around."
- "Is it not clear now. when you realize all that is required of a true artist, that he must lead a life full of interest, beauty, variety, excitement, and enlightenment?"
- "You must not live on the stage for the purpose of entertaining the spectators, you must live for yourself!" (original italicized)
- On Ibsen: "He attracted us through his philosophy. We sought to reproduce the power of his reason, the power of his logic, which is the fascinating part of Ibsen."
- "To inflate something which is nonexistent, to inflate emptiness - that makes me think of blowing soap bubbles. When the form is greater and more powerful than the actual being this latter is bound to be crushed and unnoticed in the tremendous space."