The Method I - Stanislavski - Givens and Magic If

The Stanislavski System   PART ONE

interpreted by Sonia Moore

"The method" of physical acting is the result of his whole life’s work.
Physical acting is the key to the emotional reactions of an actor, the basis of an actor’s creativity, the solution to spontaneity on stage, the essence of the whole system.
Instead of feeling an emotion before going on stage, the actor fulfills a simple, concrete purposeful physical action, which stirs the psychological side of the psychophysical act, thus achieving psycho-physical involvement.

EXCERCISES for "Given Circumstances"
Getting into the scene through what is given.
Sample Acting Exercises by Constantine Stanislavski

  1. Find the details of the moment.

(ie. Everything the playwright gives you in the script.)

(ie. The details that hide between the descriptions the playwright gives you.)

(ie. The addtional details the actors and director add organically through their discovery of the story.

EXCERCISES for the "Magic If"
Getting into the character through the verb.
Sample Acting Exercises by Constantine Stanislavski

1.) (Magic IF) Sit, Stand and Walk with justification

(ie. Sit at a window to see why the police car stopped in front of the house next door.)

(ie. Sit in order to rest.)
(ie. Stand to be photographed.)
(ie. Stand in order to see better.)
(ie. Walk to pass the time.)
(ie.Walk to annoy people in the apartment below.)
2.) MORE - (Magic IF)
Pack to go on vacation or Pack to leave for war.
Drive to get to the hospital to have a baby or Drive to see the sights.
Dig to put in your first garden or Dig to bury a body.
Break and Enter to save the prisoner or Break and Enter to rob.
Cook to feed or Cook to poison.
Arrange flowers for a wedding or Arrange flowers for a funeral.

3.) EVEN MORE (Magic IF)

Test the inter-relationship of imagination/magic if by adding some given circumstances to aid belief in another series of exercises:


Everyone find your own space.


You are to do some cooking.
Givens: There is your stove in front of you, saucepans and so on.


Now begin...cook!

A few questions:
- who are you?
- where are you?
- what are you cooking?
- why are you cooking?


Pair up and share a kitchen
Change the scenario with some new Givens!

You are an older sister/ brother having to prepare supper for awkward younger siblings. They are fussy; neither eat the same things; Mum, however, has specified they must have a balanced meal...

You are a busy chef in a popular restaurant (get specific) at half past ten on a Saturday night. Orders are coming from all directions, it is hot, the noise level is terrific...

You are preparing a supper for a boy/ girl friend, wanting very much to impress with your capability; your parents are out for the evening, your special visitor is due to arrive in half an hour...




By the end of this previous excercise on Stanislavski's "Magic if" and "Given Circumstances" we should have a better understanding of:

A. How important details are in aiding an audiences level of belief-

The fuller the list circumstances ("givens"), the easier it is to find an honest and truthful moment.

B. How different circumstances will change the basic actions the actor choses in that moment.

No comments:

Post a Comment