The Stanislavski Legacy

  • Zachary Dunbar
  • Stephe Harrop


This chapter explores the contemporary actor’s predisposition to couple Aristotelian analysis with acting techniques that draw upon Stanislavski’s early pedagogic experiments, rather than insights and practices derived from his ongoing, psychophysical explorations (or subsequent integrative training systems) to the multiple challenges of acting tragedy. This recurring alignment of Aristotelian principles and Stanislavski-based practices also plays a major role, it is argued, in defining a sense of the ‘classical’ within contemporary actor-training communities, resulting in a text-based (logocentric) understanding of tragedy and its potentials. However, this challenge can be addressed by re-focusing attention on psychophysical aspects of Stanislavski’s actor-training pedagogy, and the various integrative training and acting practices which, today, work through a synthesis of intellectual and embodied creativity.


  1. Auslander, P. 2002, ‘“Just Be Your Self”: Logocentrism and the Difference in Performance Theory’, in P. Zarrilli (ed), Acting Reconsidered: A Theoretical and Practical Guide, Routledge, London, pp. 53–60.Google Scholar
  2. Benedetti, J. 1982, Stanislavski: An Introduction, Theatre Arts Books, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Benedetti, J. 1999, Stanislavski: His Life and Art, Methuen, London.Google Scholar
  4. Benedetti, J. 2005, The Art of the Actor: The Essential History of Acting from Classical Times to the Present Day, Methuen, London.Google Scholar
  5. Benedetti, J. 2008a, Stanislavski and the Actor: The Final Acting Lessons, 1935–8, Methuen, London.Google Scholar
  6. Benedetti, J. 2008b, Konstantin Stanislavski: An Actor’s Work, Routledge, Abingdon.Google Scholar
  7. Benedetti, J. 2010, Konstantin Stanislavski: An Actor’s Work on a Role, Routledge, Abingdon.Google Scholar
  8. Blair, R. 2006, ‘Image and Action: Cognitive Neuroscience and Actor-training’, in B. McConachie & F.E. Hart (eds), Performance and Cognition: Theatre Studies and the Cognitive Turn, Routledge, London, pp. 167–85.Google Scholar
  9. Blumenfeld, R. 2008, Using the Stanislavsky System: A Practical Guide to the Character Creation and Period Styles, Limelight Editions, New York.Google Scholar
  10. Bryon, E. 2014, Integrative Performance: Practice and Theory for the Interdisciplinary Performer, Routledge, Abingdon.Google Scholar
  11. Carnicke, S.M. 2009, Stanislavsky in Focus: An Acting Master for the Twenty-First Century, Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  12. Daboo, J. 2013, ‘Stanislavsky and the Psychophysical in Western Acting’, in P. Zarrilli, J. Daboo & R. Loukes, Acting: Psychophysical Phenomenon and Process, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 158–93.Google Scholar
  13. Ertl, F. 2006, ‘Interdisciplinary Training’, in A. Bartow (ed.) Training of the American Actor, Theatre Communications Group, New York, pp. 251–68.Google Scholar
  14. Evans, M. (ed.). 2015, The Actor Training Reader, Routledge, Abingdon.Google Scholar
  15. Fortier, M. 2002, Theory/Theatre: An Introduction, Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  16. French, S.D., & Bennett, P.G. 2016, Experiencing Stanislavsky Today: Training and Rehearsal for the Psychophysical Actor, Routledge, Abingdon.Google Scholar
  17. Gillett, J. 2014, Acting Stanislavski: A Practical Guide to Stanislavski’s Approach and Legacy, Bloomsbury, London.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gillett, J. & Gutekunst, C. 2014, Voice into Acting: Integrating Voice and the Stanislavski Approach, Bloomsbury, London.Google Scholar
  19. Goldhill, S. 2007, How to Stage Greek Tragedy Today, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  20. Hamilton, E. & Cairns, H. (eds). 1961, Plato: The Collected Dialogues, Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
  21. Hartigan, K. 1995, Greek Tragedy on the American Stage: Ancient Drama in the Commercial Theater, 1882–1994, Greenwood Press, Westport.Google Scholar
  22. Hodge, A. 2000, Twentieth Century Actor Training, Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  23. Kenny, A. 2013, Aristotle: Poetics, Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  24. Krasner, D. 2014, ‘The System, Sense-Emotion Memory, and Physical Action/Active Analysis: American interpretations of the System’s Legacy’, in R.A. White (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Stanislavsky, Routledge, London, pp. 195–212.Google Scholar
  25. Laera, M. 2013, Reaching Athens: Community, Democracy and Other Mythologies in Adaptations of Greek Tragedy, Peter Lang, Bern.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lehmann, H.T. 2016, Tragedy and Dramatic Theatre, Routledge, Abingdon.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ley, G. 2014, Acting Greek Tragedy, University of Exeter Press, Exeter.Google Scholar
  28. Malague, R. 2012, An Actress Prepares: Women and “the Method”, Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  29. McConachie, B. & Hart, F.E. (eds). 2006, Performance and Cognition: Theatre Studies and the Cognitive Turn, Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  30. McKeon, R. 1947, Introduction to Aristotle, Random House, New York.Google Scholar
  31. Merlin, B. 2001, Beyond Stanislavsky: The Psycho-physical Approach to Actor Training, Routledge, New York.Google Scholar
  32. Merlin, B. 2007, The Complete Stanislavsky Toolkit, Nick Hern Books, London.Google Scholar
  33. Merlin, B. 2010, Acting: The Basics, Routledge, London.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pitches, J. 2009, Science and the Stanislavsky Tradition of Acting, Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  35. Pitches, J. & Aquilina, S. 2017, Stanislavsky in the World: The System and Its Transformations Across Continents, Bloomsbury, London.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Riley, K. 2008, The Reception and Performance of Euripides’ Herakles: Reasoning Madness, Oxford University Press, Oxford.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Roach, J.R. 1985, The Player’s Passion: Studies in the Science of Acting, University of Delaware Press, Newark.Google Scholar
  38. Thomaidis, K. 2015, ‘The Re-vocalization of Logos?: Thinking, Doing and Disseminating Voice’, in K. Thomaidis & B. Macpherson (eds), Voice Studies: Critical Approaches to Process, Performance and Experience, Routledge, London, pp. 10–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Toporkov, O. 1979, Stanislavski in Rehearsal: The Final Years, Theatre Arts Books, New York.Google Scholar
  40. van den Bosch, Heleen. 2013, ‘Anatomy of a Psycho-Physical Technique: The Underlying Structure of Stanislavski’s “System”’, Stanislavski Studies, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 3–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. White, R.A. (ed.). 2013, The Routledge Companion to Stanislavsky, Routledge, Abingdon.Google Scholar
  42. Whyman, R. 2008, The Stanislavsky System of Acting: Legacy and Influence in Modern Performance, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  43. Wiles, D. 2000, Greek Theatre Performance: An Introduction, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wiles, D. 2007, ‘Aristotle’s Poetics and Ancient Dramatic Theory’, in J.M. Walton & M. McDonald (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Greek and Roman Theatre, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 92–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Yule, Y. 2014, ‘A Study of the Structure of Subjective Experience in Stanislavsky’s An Actor Prepares’, PhD thesis, Goldsmith’s College, University of London, London.Google Scholar
  46. Zarrilli, P. (ed.). 2002, Acting (Re)considered: A Theoretical and Practical Guide, Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  47. Zarrilli, P. 2009, Psychophysical Acting: An Intercultural Approach after Stanislavski, Routledge, London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zachary Dunbar
    • 1
  • Stephe Harrop
    • 2
  1. 1.Victorian College of the ArtsUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Liverpool Hope UniversityLiverpoolUK

Personalised recommendations