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Acting Stanislavski


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Acting Stanislavski is an inspiring and technically thorough practical book for actors. It sets down a systematic and coherent process for organic, Stanislavski-based acting.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements Foreword, by Sam West Introduction - acting in context PART ONE STARTING FROM NOTHING Chapter 1 Awareness Chapter 2 Ease and focus PART TWO IMAGINATION AND ACTION - CREATING THE FOUNDATIONS Chapter 3 Acting in circumstances Chapter 4 Acting with others Chapter 5 What do I want? PART THREE DEVELOPING THE IMAGINARY REALITY - IMAGES, SENSING, FEELING Chapter 6 Imagining the action Chapter 7 Sensing Chapter 8 Feeling Chapter 9 Atmosphere PART FOUR EXPLORING TEXT AND CHARACTER Chapter 10 Meeting the play Chapter 11 Meeting the character PART FIVE CREATING THE LIFE OF THE ROLE Chapter 12 Discovering the action - active analysis Chapter 13 Embodiment - physical expression of the character Chapter 14 Refining the role Chapter 15 The character PART SIX BEYOND THE ROLE Chapter 16 Acting ethics Chapter 17 Working together Chapter 18 An open conclusion A map of the organic acting process Glossary Selected bibliography Index

About the Author

John Gillett trained as an actor in the Stanislavski and Michael Chekhov techniques between 1969 and 1971 and has worked widely as an actor in repertory, touring, small-scale and London theatre, radio, film and television. He has directed and taught acting in drama schools, was Head of the Post Graduate Acting Course at East 15 Acting School, UK, helped to run two theatre companies and teaches acting training for professional actors. He is a member of Equity, and his website is


A manual full of enabling, easing exercises - it will enable you to analyse any scene. The cry of the actor at sea, 'I don't know what I'm doing,' should, with this book, become a thing of the past. * Sam West, Actor and Director *
This is probably the single most useful and powerfully presented summation of Stanislavski's approach to acting available ... What sets this book apart from other recent studies is that the Stanislavskian approach has been filtered through a lifetime of practice - the'concentrate' that emerges is crystal clear, an explication of the 'system' which makes absolute practical sense for the actor ... The primary strength and authority of this book is derived from the single fact that he is an actor addressing other actors with the impassioned objective of encouraging them to take responsibility for their own art and to have 'respect' for what they do. -- Julian Jones * New Theatre Quarterly *
I'd recommend this book to anyone wanting an introduction to Stanislavksi or Michael Chekhov or acting in general. * Matt Peover, LAMDA trainer and theatre director. *
Contains all the important things that need to be said about learning to act . . . in an extremely logical and sensible manner * Simon Dunmore, Editor, Actors Yearbook *
It sets the record straight in terms of what Stanislavski was actually about. Its invaluable. * Marina Calderone, co-author 'ACTIONS, The Actor's Thesaurus' *
This is an excellent book - one of the best of its kind that I have read. John Gillett's book is way out in front in that it offers both scholarship and really sound practical strategies * Annie Tyson, acting tutor at RADA and Drama Centre *
If an actor was to have just one book on the process of acting on their shelf it should be this one * Edda Sharpe, co-author of 'How To Do Accents' *
[Acting Stanislavski] feels significantly more substantial, more comprehensive, and clearer than other recent studies of Stanislavski ... While this book is a fantastically expansive introduction for the uninitiated, it will also provide real nourishment and clarity for the many actors who have studied bits of Stanislavski here and there and are looking for something more comprehensive. Or one could simply dip into the book for some fresh studio exercises to use in the classroom ... This balance between the practical and scholarly, as well as the book's sensible, logical structure, would make it a great course book for the more technically-minded and historically-curious of acting students, while its glossary and index make it one the best reference books about acting on the market ... A deep, authentic, and mature love of the theatre shines throughout the writing. This is the clearest, most comprehensive, and most ambitious book on Stanislavski in existence, from a writer who clearly has a lifetime's experience of dedicated exploration as an actor, teacher, and director. * Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism *

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