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Constantin Stanislavsky

Stanislavsky, Constantin (kənstəntyēnˈ stənyĭsläfˈskē) [key], 1863–1938, Russian theatrical director, teacher, and actor, whose original name was Constantin Sergeyevich Alekseyev. He was cofounder with Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko of the Moscow Art Theater in 1898, which he would remain associated with for the remainder of his life. As a director, he stressed ensemble acting as well as complete coordination of all phases of production. His outstanding productions included many of the plays of Chekhov, in which he tried to strip away rhetorical clichés to enter the emotional core and complex psychology of the characters. Stanislavsky stressed the importance of the actor's inner identification with the character and the actor's natural use of body and voice. His training for actors, now termed the Stanislavsky method, or "method acting," had a vast influence on modern schools of acting. In New York City, The Actors Studio adapted many of his ideas to their use. Stanislavsky also achieved renown as a director of opera.

See Stanislavsky's An Actor Prepares (tr. 1936), Building a Character (tr. 1950), and Creating a Role (tr. 1961); his autobiographical My Life in Art (tr. 1924); biography by E. Polyakova (1982); studies by C. Edwards, The Stanislavsky Heritage (1965), S. Moore, The Stanislavksy System (1974), and N. Gorchakov, Stanislavsky Directs (1968, repr. 1974).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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