The Stanislavski System

By: Grace Lu 2nd Furnish

Konstantin Stanislavski


“Every other artist may create whenever he is in the mood of inspiration. But the artist of the stage must be the master of his own inspiration and must know how to call it forth when it is announced on the posters of the theatre. This is the chief secret of our art.”

  • Disliked "artificial" and overly dramatic acting popular at the time
  • Created techniques in which the actor was believed, instead of merely recognized or understood

The System

  • Inspired by Artistic, Literary, and Scientific Theories such as

PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY: the relationship between physical actions and psychological emotions

  • Actor takes on his/own personality
  • Realistic relationships between characters

  1. Magic If: putting yourself in the situation
  2. Motivation
  3. Objective/Goals
  4. Emotional Memory: recalling past experiences

Diffusion Timeline

Stanislavski did not intend to create his own system.

1897: Started Moscow Arts Theatre (MAT) Acting Company with Nemirovich Danchenko

1898: Produced "The Sea Gull"


MAT adapts the Stanislavski System.

1911: Formed a studio

Taught Richard Boleslavsky and Maria Ouspenskya, who later moved to teach in the United States.

1923: MAT tours the United States

1931: AMERICAN GROUP THEATRE (Harold Clurman, Cherly Crawford, Lee Strasburg)

28 actors (permanent ensamble)

10 years

20 productions

Emotional Memory was a debated issue

Method Acting created by Lee Strasburg

1938: "An Actor Prepares" by Stanislavksi (he was always changing his technique, and very hesitant on publishing his work)

Famous Actors

Stella Adler, Stanford Meisner, Marlo Brando, Marilyn Monroe