Stanislavki’s System Essay
Units and Objectives, the Superobjective and Throughline are some of the most important elements of Stanislavki’s System. As a director how would you apply them to a role to shape and improve an actor’s performance. Stanislavski recommended that the actor break each scene into separate sections or units which make the plot easier to understand and manage, and then give each unit an aim, or objective. An actors objective for a unit should detail exactly what they want to achieve as a character for each unit.
Each objective has to be active, and therefore is expressed with an active verb “I want”. Stanislavski knew that actors often got problems with how to play a certain role, and therefore as a director I would advise the actor playing Miss Moffat to break up this scene from “The Corn is Green” , into 4 Units, and write an objective for each of these. For example in Unit One, the title would be “Miss Moffat tells Morgan her news that he is going to Oxford”.
From this title she can derive an objective “I want to tell Morgan the exciting news that he is going to Oxford”. The word exciting shows that she must act excitedly, but from previous knowledge of the character, she is a very reserved person, and so her happiness would be obviously suppressed, but still evident, and therefore she would become more animated in her movements and smile a lot more than normal. In this way, she has found an active objective which helps her to know how to act the character of Miss Moffat by creating units.
Another way of helping an actor to know how to play their character as created by Stanislavski is for the director and actor to create a Superobjective for the entire play. Each unit of the scene contributes to the overall Superobjective of the scene, which is determined by the Actor and Director. As a Director I would advise the actress playing Miss Moffat to devise the Superobjective of “I want to show the turbulent relationship between me and Morgan, and to further show the audience aspects of my character”.
This would allow her to better play Miss Moffat so that all her behaviour makes sense and allow continuity throughout the entire scene. Stanislavski also advocated that the entire play should have a consistent and straight Throughline running throughout, to make sure the character stays consistent and believable, and therefore also true to life and naturalistic, as Stanislavski wanted theatre to be.
A Throughline is formed from each scene’s Superobjective, and must make sense. Each character has a through line throughout the play, and it acts to fill in any gaps, and shows how each objective moves into the next. This Throughline also provides a coherence of the role activating the subconscious, allowing the audience to identify with the character, and therefore better understand why they act as they do.
As a director, I would provide the actor playing Miss Moffat with each of her units, with their own superobjectives for each scene, and help her to form her own Throughline for her character in the play, thus helping her know how to perform her character throughout the play, and make her consistent in character and performance. Everything in Stanislavski’s System exists for the sake of the Throughline and Superobjective. These elements work to give continuity and give the actor’s work an overall shape.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 10 July 2017
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