- NAME: Constantin Stanislavski
- OCCUPATION: Theater Actor
- BIRTH DATE: January 1863
- DEATH DATE: August 07, 1938
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Moscow, Russia
- PLACE OF DEATH: Moscow, Russia
- Originally: Constantin Sergeyevich Alekseyev
- AKA: Konstantin Sergeyevich Stanislavski
- AKA: Constantin Sergeyevich Stanislavski
- AKA: Constantin Stanislavski
- AKA: Konstantin Stanislavski
- AKA: Konstantin Sergeevich Alekseev
- AKA: Konstantin Sergeyevich Alekseyev
- AKA: Constantin Sergeevich Alekseev
- AKA: Konstantin Sergeevich Stanislavski
- AKA: Stanislavski
Best Known For
Constantin Stanislavski was a Russian stage actor and director who developed the naturalistic performance technique known as the "Stanislavsky method," or method acting.
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Born in 1863 in Moscow, Russia, Constantin Stanislavski started working in theater as a teen, going on to become an acclaimed thespian and director of stage productions. He co-founded the Moscow Art Theatre in 1897 and developed a performance process known as method acting, allowing actors to use their personal histories to express authentic emotion and create rich characters. He died in Moscow in 1938.
"The main factor in any form of creativeness is the life of a human spirit, that of the actor and his part, their joint feelings and subconscious creation."
"Remember: there are no small parts, only small actors."
"Unless the theatre can ennoble you, make you a better person, you should flee from it."
"Love the art in yourself and not yourself in the art."
Constantin Stanislavski was born Konstantin Sergeyevich Alekseyev in Moscow, Russia, in January 1863 (sources offer varying information on the exact day of his birth). He was part of a wealthy clan who loved theater: His maternal grandmother was a French actress and his father constructed a stage on the family's estate.
Alekseyev started acting at the age of 14, joining the family drama circle. He developed his theatrical skills considerably over time, performing with other acting groups while working in his clan's manufacturing business. In 1885, he gave himself the stage name of Stanislavski—the name of a fellow actor he'd met. He married teacher Maria Perevoshchikova three years later, and she would join her husband in the serious study and pursuit of acting.
In 1888, Stanislavski founded the Society of Art and Literature, with which he performed and directed productions for almost a decade. Then, in June 1897, he and playwright/director Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko decided to open the Moscow Art Theatre, which would be an alternative to standard theatrical aesthetics of the day.
The company successfully opened in October 1898 with Tsar Fyodor Ivanovich by Aleksey K. Tolstoy. The theater's subsequent production of The Seagull was a landmark achievement and reignited the career of its writer Anton Chekhov, who went on to craft plays specifically for the company.
Over the following decades, the Moscow Art Theatre developed a stellar domestic and international reputation with works like The Petty Bourgeois, An Enemy of the People and The Blue Bird. Stanislavski co-directed productions with Nemirovich-Danchenko and had prominent roles in several works, including The Cherry Orchard and The Lower Depths.
In 1912, Stanislavski created First Studio, which served as a training ground for young thespians. A decade later, he directed Eugene Onegin, an opera by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
During the Moscow Art Theatre's early years, Stanislavski worked on providing a guiding structure for actors to consistently achieve deep, meaningful and disciplined performances. He believed that actors needed to inhabit authentic emotion while on stage and, to do so, they could draw upon feelings they'd experienced in their own lives. Stanislavski also developed exercises that encouraged actors to explore character motivations, giving performances depth and an unassuming naturalism while still paying attention to the parameters of the production. This technique would come to be known as the "Stanislavski method" or "the Method."
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