Stanislavski Translation Project
Stanislavski Translation Project
Expanding our understanding of the "father" of modern actor training
Is it possible in the 21st century, 23 years after the passing of Sanford Meisner, to broaden our understanding of Meisner's work and the work of other actor training methods to find new and better ways to practice Meisner's principles of simple, direct and effective teaching of actors?
That is the purpose of the Stanislavski Translation Project.
Here is the history we have been taught about the development of actor training in America. In 1923 Constantin Stanislavski's Moscow Art Theatre came to New York and other American cities and presented theater productions that changed the course of actor training in America. The work of the Moscow Art Theatre actors was acclaimed as vastly superior to the type of acting practiced by most American actors at the time.
Two of Stanislavski's actors, Richard Boleslavsky and Maria Ouspenskaya, founded the American Laboratory Theatre in New York and began teaching Stanislavski's new revolutionary technique. From these events sprang the Group Theatre, a group that spawned the three great American acting teachers of the 20th century - Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler and Sanford Meisner.
Strasberg, Adler and Meisner each developed their own way of teaching young actors how to fully experience and bring to life the roles the actors played. Their differences of opinion were strongly felt and widely discussed. (It would be hard to find a Meisner teacher today who spoke kindly of and thoughtfully on the work of Strasberg.)
While we have settled comfortably into our respective clans, scholarship continues to deepen the understanding of this history and the continuing development of actor training across the world. Much of this scholarship is occurring in Russia, the birthplace of our inspiration.
Unfortunately many of the books that could open our training methods to new ideas are not translated into English. To correct this problem, the Meisner Institute has initiated the Stanislavski Translation Project.
Our goal is to select a list of worthy books each year and help finds ways to bring their English translation to fruition.
This year we are focusing our efforts on three books - 1) Sergei Tcherkasski, Acting: Stanislavski - Boleslavsky - Strasberg. History, Theory, Practice 2) Boris Zon, Meetings with Stanislavski and 3) Maria Knebel, Poetry of Theatre Training.
The first book by Sergei Tcherkasski is of particular interest. The book contains over 800 pages of scholarship that directly pertains to history of the development of Stanislavski's approach in America. It gives us a much broader understanding of the approaches to actor training by Stanislavski and by Boleslavsky. And it gives a fairer reading to the work of Strasberg. In addition, the book contains over 400 pictures that bring this history to life.
Tcherkasski's book is not limited to history. It contains a section on training practice that discusses the advanced state of actor training currently existing in Russia. This section is sure to provide new ideas to acting teachers in America.
Sanford Meisner spent sixty years experimenting with and developing new ways to help actors learn the difficult craft of acting. We owe it to the next generation of actors to continue our development of the Meisner approach. These books could provide some of the keys to this work.
Please join us in our efforts to have these books translated!