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Realism and Theatre in the 20th Century


Realism is a genre or style of theatre/film that seeks to portray life ... Due to internal conflicts over acting theories the Group Theatre disbanded in 1941. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Realism and Theatre in the 20th Century

Realism and Theatre in the 20th Century
  • What is realism?
  • Realism is a genre or style of theatre/film that
    seeks to portray life as it is. Using actual set
    pieces, actual props, actual clothing and speech
    patterns from daily life.
  • For example a play takes place in a dorm room
    then there would be a bed, a wooden desk, books,
    scattered clothing, etc.
  • The actor would wear jeans, t shirt, etc.

  • Realism is different from Elizabethan theatre in
    several ways
  • Sets in Elizabethan theatre are representational
    and minimal. While sets in realism are elaborate
    and true to the place.
  • Actors in Elizabethan theatre declare their lines
    to the audience in a loud, announcer voice. In
    Realism, the actors speak in a normal, everyday
    pattern, to each other not the audience.
  • The language of Elizabethan theatre is mainly
    flowery verse and it is written in long
    declarative speeches. The language of Realistic
    theatre is every day prose speech and is written
    in dialogue form. It is very conversational.
  • Elizabethan theatre is often about fantasy/
    fictional situations. Realism is ordinary

  • Realism began in Europe. It had its start with
    playwrights such has Henrik Ibsen and Anton
  • Ibsen was German and Chekhov was Russian.
  • Ibsen wrote A Dolls House, and Chekhov wrote The
    Seagulls and The Cherry Orchard.
  • Both men wrote plays about ordinary people.
  • Their themes were about social and political
  • A Dolls House is about Sexism and womens
  • Chekhovs plays are all about the social upheaval
    because of the Russian revolution.

Chekhov and Isben
Konstantin Stansilavski
  • 1863 1938
  • Stanislavski was born to a wealthy merchant
    family in Moscow. A family that supported the
    arts and his endeavors.
  • He began his career at an early age in a theatre
    company supported by his family.
  • In 1897 he co founded the Moscow Art Theatre
    with Vladimir Danchenko.
  • It was at this theatre he developed his acting
    system which became the basis for virtually all
    acting instruction in the Western world in the
    20th century.

Stanislavski and The Moscow Art Theatre
The System
  • Stanislavski developed n acting style he called
    the system.
  • This system instructed actors to use their
    affective memory to naturally portray a
    characters emotions.
  • Affective memory is to think of a time in their
    own lives when they felt the desired emotion and
    replay it in their mind to give a genuine
  • This system makes actors work from inside out

  • Stanislavski continued to change and develop his
    system his whole life.
  • He felt that developing the art of acting should
    be an ongoing process with no right or wrong way.
  • He wrote three books
  • An Actor Prepares, Building A Character and
    Creating A Role.
  • Create your own method dont depend slavishly on
    mine. Make up something that will work for you!
    But keep breaking traditions, I beg you.

Stanislavski in the US
  • Stanislavskis system came to the US and
    influenced every generation of acting since the
  • His influence was first felt at the Group Theatre
    in the 1930s.
  • Then it was changed and developed by a man named
    Lee Strasberg first at the Group Theatre and then
    at the Actors Studio, in the 1950s.

Lee Strasberg
  • Strasberg was born in Hungary in 1901.
  • He became a US citizen in 1936.
  • In 1931 he started the Group Theatre with Harold
    Clurman and Cheryl Crawford.

  • Due to internal conflicts over acting theories
    the Group Theatre disbanded in 1941.
  • Strasberg joined the Actors Studio in 1949 as an
  • By 1952 he was the artistic and managing
  • Strasbergs method relies very heavily on
    modern psychology and pushes the actor to become
    the character and experience all the characters

  • This method can be dangerous to actors creating
    psychological problems and potential physical
  • Strasberg taught this method at the Actors
    Studio both in NY and in LA.
  • His students include many of the biggest stars of
    the 20th century Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman,
    Robert DeNiro, Paul Newman, Marilyn Monroe, James
    Dean and Ellen Burstyn.

Stella Adler
  • Stella Adler was an actress at the Group Theatre.
  • She was the only member of the Group or the
    Actors Studio that actually worked with

  • Stella spent a summer in France working with
  • When she returned she said that they had it all
    wrong. By the time she worked with Stanislavski,
    he had changed some of his ideas and moved along.
  • Stella broke from group and began her own studio.
  • Stella was much more taken with given
    circumstances and working with the words and
    situations the author gives us.
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