You see, I have become totally immersed in Stanislavski’s brilliant book, An Actor Prepares. And, curiously, it’s not just the content, the ideas, the brilliant insights. It is also the writing, the storytelling .. the amazing innocent and naive point view that he chose to write from. This is a book about curiosity and innocence. This is a story about a young actor discovering the richness of the world in front of him. And as I am reading this (having written three books on film directing) I am considering this approach on my next book. What if I don’t take the position of knowing something, having the answers, the teacher speaking to the students? What would that do? Could I possibly approach the brilliance of An Actor Prepares? Or wold it just come across like some grand conceit, some clever trick?
The character of Tortsov (in An Actor Prepares) is actually Stanislavski in disguise. But the main character is an enthusiastic student who is just learning the techniques of acting. Brilliant. They are both Stanislavski, at two different ages. One at the beginning of his career and the other near the end.
Now, think for a moment about what he has done. He has written a form of autobiography with himself in it at two different ages, two different sensibilities, one the innocent, the other the wise .. and he puts them into conversation, debate. One trying to teach and inform, the other struggling to comprehend and understand. Do you know of any other book that does this? And, as I said above, in the midst of all of this are these brilliant observations, brilliant insights and stunning discoveries, from BOTH characters. Once again I am totally intimidated.
I recently read KAZAN ON DIRECTING. Stunning. Breathtaking. Intimidating.
Now I am also (besides An Actor Prepares) reading Kazan’s autobiography, A LIVE. Again, I am breathless.
And I am on the brink of starting a new book. A book on my techniques working with actors. (They call it The Travis Technique. I say “they” because I’m a bit embarrassed to slap my own name on anything.) So, with this new book on the horizon and now I am reading Stanislavski, Kazan, Geilgud and soon Meisner, etc. There’s a good chance I’ll just crumble under the weight and awe of it all.
More news tomorrow but for the moment, here’s a little quote from Mr. Stanislavski. “Imitation has nothing to do with creativeness.”