Category Archives: Constant Stanislavski


I sincerely sympathized with Stockman (“The Enemy of the People”) and understood his feelings when his eyes saw the rotten souls of the men who had once been his friends. I feared in those moments—for Stockman or for myself—I don’t remember. I felt and understood that with each succeeding scene I became more and more lonely, and when, at the end of the performance I at last stood alone, the final sentence of the play “He is the strongest who stands alone” seemed to beg for utterance by its own power. (MLIA)


In those days (1905) “The Enemy of the People” (Ibsen) had not only artistic but social meaning and was to a great extent the expression of the time. It is not remarkable that the play at once came under the surveillance of the censor and the police. Not a single performance took place without ovations that resembled demonstrations. (MLIA)


Naturalism on the stage is only naturalism when it is justified by the inner experience of the actor. Once naturalism is justified, it either becomes necessary (especially in Tolstoy’s plays, for Tolstoy loves things and the details of human life more than all other authors) or it is simply unnoticed, thanks to the inner display of the emotions of the actor and the complete mixing of inner and outer life. I would advise all theoreticians who do not know this from their own experience to see their words justified on the stage itself, as I did. (MLIA)


We studied the buildings, and made plans of them, of the natural geography and topography of the courtyards, barns, outhouses, and main structures of the estate. We studied the customs, the marriage ceremonies, the run of everyday life, the details of husbandry. We brought back with us from the village clothes, shirts, short overcoats, dishes, furniture. Not only that—we also brought two living specimens of the village life with us, an old man and an old woman. (MLIA)


The spectator would not be bored in looking at us and listening to us; he would find it pleasant to believe us all of the time, for the spiritual content of Gorky and of ourselves would justify and round out the tendential parts of the play and the empty moments of the performance, which, under other circumstances, might become specifically theatrical stuffing and nothing else. (MLIA)


It was necessary to enter into the spiritual springs of Gorky himself, just as we had done in the case of Chekhov, and find the current of the action in the soul of the writer. Having made our own a part of the Gorky soul, we would have the right to speak, to interpret the contents, the thoughts, the plot of the play [The Lower Depths], to act simply, without any unnecessary strain or effort, without the necessity of persuading someone, of propagating something. (MLIA)


The spectator can make his own conclusions, and create his own tendency from what he receives in the theatre. The natural conclusion is reached of itself in the soul and mind of the spectator from what he sees in the actor’s creative efforts. This is a necessary condition, and it is only when such a condition is present that one can think in the theatre of producing plays of a social and political character. (MLIA)



True art fades whenever it approaches tendential, utilitarian, unartistic paths. In art tendency must change into its own ideas, pass into emotion, become a sincere effort and the second nature of the actor. Only then can it enter into the life of the human spirit in the actor, the role, and the play. But then it is no longer a tendency, it is a personal credo. (MLIA)