Stanislavski: Contexts and Influences

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This chapter is a contribution to a new series on the Great Stage Directors. The volume considers the directorial work of Stanislavski, Antoine and Saint Denis in relation to the emergence of realism as twentieth century theatre form. The chapter discusses Stanislavski’s work at the Moscow Art Theatre in the context of the cultural ideas influencing his life, work and approach. Stanislavski’s biography and the particular trajectory of his work is traced in relation to the emergence of ‘realism’ as the dominant twentieth-century form in Europe and more specifically Russia.The development of Stanislavski’s ideas of realism, non-realism and naturalism continue to be pertinent to theatre and acting in the present day, throughout the world. The chapter challenges simplified ideas of psychological realism often attributed to Stanislavski and shows how he investigated different ideas of realism, including how conventionalized and stylized theatre can also, crucially, be based in the “real” experience of the actor
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Great European Stage Directors Set 1 Volumes 1-4: Pre-1950
Subtitle of host publicationAntoine, Stanislavski, Saint-Denis
EditorsPeta Tait
PublisherBloomsbury Methuen Drama
ISBN (Print)9781474254113
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2018

Publication series

NameThe Great Stage Directors
PublisherBloomsbury Methuen


  • Stanislavski
  • realism
  • naturalism
  • spiritual naturalism
  • psychological realism
  • socialist realism
  • artistic realism
  • symbolism
  • grotesque
  • Nemirovich-Danchenko
  • Anton Chekhov
  • Moscow Art Theatre
  • Vakhtangov
  • Meyerhold
  • Michael Chekhov
  • Russian theatre
  • truth in acting
  • Russian avant-garde
  • Gogol
  • Shchepkin


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