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Description - Stanislavski by Jean Benedetti

"This is the most complete description yet available in English of Stanislavski's real life in art" (New York Times) Jean Benedetti's critical biography of Konstantin Stanislavski, one of the towering figures of twentieth-century theatre, has been fully revised and expanded offering new facts and insights into Stanislavski's life and arts. This new edition, written with unprecedented access to original Russian material including letters and production notes never previously translated, explores the collaboration and often bitter disputes with Nemirovich Danchenko, co-founder of the Moscow Art Theatre, and traces further Stanislavski's often troubled relationship with the company he led. It gives a new account of the difficulties and tensions that lay behind the highly influential 1922-4 American tour. Benedetti also gives us fuller versions of key moments in Stanislavski's career: his arbitrary arrest in 1919 and his troubled relationship with the Soviet regime over artistic differences; a greater understanding of how Stanislavski's seminal books on acting came to be written, edited and translated into English only to lead to gross misunderstanding of his work; plus the best understanding yet of the evolution of Stanislavski's revolutionary acting 'system'."Benedetti's biography rescues Stanislavski from his stereotypes and will reinstate him for this and coming theatrical generations. It's written with the clarity of shape, firmness of purpose and fullness of emotion that mark out a good piece of acting." (Guardian) "Both extremely informative and highly readable, this biography will become the one indispensable book in English for anyone beginning to study not just Stanislavski and the Moscow Art Theatre, but also the foundations of modern acting and directing." (Theatre Research International)

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780413525208
ISBN-10: 0413525201
Format: Paperback
(216mm x 135mm x 25mm)
Pages: 352
Imprint: Methuen Drama
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publish Date: 10-May-1990
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - Stanislavski by Jean Benedetti

US Kirkus Review » Truly a book about the birth of modern acting, timed to appear with a PBS special entitled Stanislavski: Father of Modern Acting. Though published on the 125th anniversary of his birth, this first biography of Stanislavski in over 40 years reads as though it is about some Wellesian/Brechtian firebrand of the 30's, a man of verve and immediacy and towering psychology, showering his stage with dozens of ingenious offstage noises (crickets, dogs, frogs, wagons, trains), adjusting every lamp and shadow for utmost realism, taking his actors off to see peasants in the raw to do Gorki's The Lower Depths. Konstantin Stanislavski, the pseudonym of Moscow businessman Konstantin Sergeievich Alekseiev, son of a wealthy textile manufacturer, was torn for decades between supporting his wife and children by keeping the family plant running brilliantly as only he could run it and throwing it all up for a full and devoted life in the theater. He began by putting on amateur theatricals, supported his own troupe. Gradually, the troupe became more and more richly serious and ambitious, and at last the ensemble was recognized as better than the area's professional troupes. Still young, Stanislavski became known as Russia's greatest actor, shining especially in Ibsen. Then his fingers went deep into the ganglia of the actor's psychology, the Moscow Art Theatre arose, and the landside of Chekhov's four mature plays - The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard - fell into his lap and the golden age of Russian theater shook the world. For actors, Stanislavski invented the wheel. Benedetti is quite equal to his subject, has the tremendous resource of original Russian Stanislavski studies, and is especially keen on the beat-by-beat, act-by-act staging of the Chekhov plays. An inspiration for actors and a must for all theater shelves. (Kirkus Reviews)

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