17 Jan 19
The Scottish Sun
GOOGLE Doodle is celebrating Konstantin Stanislavski, whose pioneering techniques inspired the leading lights of Hollywood, from Al Pacino to James Dean and Marilyn Monroe.
Here’s what we know about the Russian actor, and how he created his very own brand of theatre with Stanislavski’s System.
Google Doodle is celebrating Russian actor and theatre director Konstantin Stanislavsky
Who was Konstantin Stanislavski?
Konstantin Sergeievich Stanislavski was a seminal Russian theatre practitioner.
Born in 1863 to a hugely wealthy family, his love of the theatre was tolerated rather than actively encouraged by his family – though he was able to play around in their two private theatres.
Because of his family’s views, he performed and directed as an amateur until he was 33, when he co-founded the world-famous Moscow Art Theatre (MAT) with Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko following an 18-hour discussion.
As a director, actor and theatre owner he became central in giving a platform to some of the most influential Russian dramatists of the day – including Anton Chekhov, Maxim Gorky and Mikhail Bulgakov.
Stanislavski was active until his final year, dying in August 1938, after suffering a heart-attack five days earlier.
Three weeks after his death his widow, Lilina, received an advanced copy of the Russian-language edition of the first volume of An Actor’s Work, which she described as the “labour of his life”.
Google Doodle is celebrating seminal Russian character actor Konstantin Stanislavski
What productions did he stage?
The MAT production of The Seagull has been described superlatively as “one of the greatest events in the history of Russian theatre and one of the greatest new developments in the history of world drama”.
Stanislavski went on to direct the successful premières of Chekhov’s other major plays: Uncle Vanya in 1899 (in which he played Astrov), Three Sisters in 1901 (playing Vershinin), and The Cherry Orchard in 1904 (playing Gaev).
Over the years Stanislavski was involved in ongoing experimentation, playing around with realism, naturalism and developing his own experimentation technique that became known as “Stanislavski’s System”.
He was deeply invested in exploring the psychology of every character involved in a play, and is famous for saying: “There are no small parts, only small actors.”
Political turmoil in Russia from 1917 would influence what MAT could stage.
Keen to keep the theatre open under Stalin, they were forced to stage plays that promoted the socialist political beliefs prevalent.
The distinguished actor and director played a central role in the development of Russian theatre
What was Stanislavski’s system?
Stanislavski is credited with creating his very own system, developed to encourage actors to dig deep for their performances.
Actors are asked to understand everything it is possible to know about the character to enable them to fully embrace their role.
For example, actors are asked to think about their emotional memory, their history before the context of the play, and the subtext of their lines.
Stanislavski always said the character should answer the question: “What would I do if I was in this situation?”
Also known as the “magic if”, this technique means that actors put themselves into the character’s situation.
The System is often conflated with “method acting” – but they are in fact distinct.
Stanislavski was deeply interested in instructing and educating actors, writing a number of manuals
Stanislavski believed that an actor needed to be isolated to produce a decent characterisation.
He referred to this as as the “first circle of attention”, while the actor might in the “second circle”, be aware of the character he is addressing and in the “third circle”, the rest of the production.
The complex method also included instructions on tempo, physical action and improvisation.
His work has been hugely influential, with US director and actor Lee Strasberg utilising his teachings from the 1950s through to the 1980s.
Strasberg, rather than Stanislavski, was the father of “method acting”, though it was inspired by the Russian.
Inspired by Stanislavski, Strasberg coached several generations of theatre and film’s brightest lights, including Marlon Brando, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.
[article-rail-topic title=”MORE GOOGLE DOODLES” term_id=”9138″ posts_number=”6″ /]
What is a Google Doodle?
In 1998, the search engine founders Larry and Sergey drew a stick figure behind the second ‘o’ of Google as a message to show that they were out of office at the Burning Man festival and with that, Google Doodles were born.
The company decided that they should decorate the logo to mark cultural moments and it soon became clear that users really enjoyed the change to the Google homepage.
In that same year, a turkey was added to Thanksgiving and two pumpkins appeared as the ‘o’s for Halloween the following year.
Now, there is a full team of doodlers, illustrators, graphic designers, animators and classically trained artists who help create what you see on those days.
Google kicked off 2019 with an animated Doodle of New Year’s Eve celebrations.
On January 7, Fahrelnissa Zeid’s life was celebrated with a colourful, kaleidoscopic Doodle on her 118th birthday.
And on January 11, the life of the first black singer on BBC Radio, Evelyn Dove, was celebrated.
Sake Dean Mahomed, who was the first to open an Indian restaurant in the UK, was also honoured with a Google Doodle on January 15.
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