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In chapters 12 and 15 of Constantin Stanislavski’s An Actor Prepares, Stanislavski indicates the importance of honing one’s inner connection to a play in order to portray a realistic and sympathetic depiction of a character. Chapter 12 talks about the, “three impelling movers in our psychic life, three masters who play on the instrument of our souls,” (Stanislavski 266). These three “inner motive forces” are feelings, the mind, and will. Together these forces empower one to think and act creatively. Feelings enable actors to connect to the script and the character they portray, and powerful feelings allow the audience to connect to the actor, providing the basis for a great play. The mind chooses what an actor focuses on and imagines, as well as decides how to portray the feelings essential to the portrayal. Will power relies entirely on the actor and how they are able to approach their material in ways to keep themselves interested. Without the desire to perform a scene, actors are unable to act realistically.
Chapter 15 discusses the “super-objective,” which is the broad topic that the playwright examines through the events of the play. The theme that accompanies this “super-objective” helps actors to ground themselves in the ideas that they wish to convey in their performance, and it can help to enhance character interactions. The theme also gives actors a life-line of sorts that they can return to if they feel they become confused in their acting choices. The Director explains the significance of this life-line, saying, “That inner line of effort that guides the actors from the beginning to the end of the play we call the continuity or the through-going action. This through line galvanizes all the small units and objectives of the play and directs them toward the super-objective. From then on they all serve the common purpose,” (Stanislavski 296).
In the scenes we were assigned in class, the best actors are able to use their minds to focus on specific aspects of their characters’ lives and feel what their characters experience. For me, will is the hardest of the three inner motives to master, since by now we have read this short scene many times and it is hard to think of it in a fresh way. The exercises we did in class where we had to imagine an extraneous circumstance about ourselves helped to see the script in a new light. I will remember this trick for rehearsals still to come.
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