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HomeLatest NewsKonstantin Stanislavsky - a man who "did not believe"

Konstantin Stanislavsky – a man who “did not believe”

Date: November 29, 2023 Time: 00:50:46

Director Konstantin Stanislavsky was born 160 years ago

Photo: TASS

What do we know about him? He came up with the “Stanislavsky system”, which changed the minds of actors and directors around the world. Together with Nemirovich-Danchenko, he created a theater that now lives a double life: the Moscow Art Theater on Kamergersky Lane in Moscow and the Moscow Gorky Art Theater. The author of the famous quote “I don’t believe!”. Sometimes today it seems that the quote is out of date: you do not believe in comic book heroes, you look at the most simplified scheme of the fight of superheroes against the background of special effects. We also know that he was the youngest son of the wealthy manufacturer Sergei Alekseev, from a family of Old Believers.

Konstantin Sergeevich Stanislavsky (he took such a pseudonym for himself, hoping for future glory), by today’s standards, would be considered an important boy – carefree art classes with a “father-entrepreneur”. He had a very reliable rear: on the one hand, his father owned a factory that made clothing for the clergy. His ancient ancestor owned a quarry that supplied a block of granite to Saint Petersburg for the Alexandria Pillar. And besides, dad built a home theater for the “junior”, in today’s Garden Ring. Do it man, do it…

And he created, but first he grew. You can write a lot about his life, he wrote a lot about himself. Today there are three stories that do not concern officialdom, but somehow reveal the character of the future teacher.


One day little Kostya became a hooligan and prevented his father from drinking tea. Dad made a comment, but Kostya was rude in response. The father laughed, which seemed offensive to the boy, and the boy, like Pavlik Morozov, decided to threaten: “But I won’t let you go to Aunt Vera!”

The future directing genius repeated this phrase several times. And the father said: “You are not my son.” And he left the room, and little Kostya realized that this victory was worthless. Only then, time after time, did he wait for another victory over his family. At first he bragged, then insisted contrary to logic, then regretted it. And the regret was caused not by the understanding that stubbornness had led to, but by completely childish reasons: either he was afraid of the dark, then horses, then he was surprised: here my brother plays the piano, “but they forgot about me .” And, immediately: “They should be very ashamed now.”

Konstantin Sergeevich Stanislavsky at work.

Photo: TASS


He was educated at home until he was 13 years old. Mom was afraid to lower the child into the terrible cauldron of school education. So the lessons from him were touching: almost a home gym, fencing, dancing, skating, foreign languages. Perhaps Stanislavsky would not have received an education if it were not for the red tape: conscription benefits and an educational qualification were needed. So Konstantin Sergeevich went to the gymnasium and was accepted only in the first class. He took the exam in the third grade with a bag of Athos soil. At the insistence of the family. With samples. But Konstantin Sergeevich fiddled with the button so much that Athos’s bag with dirt would wake up. So I had to go study with young people.

The funniest thing about this story of gymnasium feats was that Konstantin Sergeevich prompted his class to study the language of the deaf-mutes. And all of them had improved performance. Another level of perfect clues.


It’s no coincidence that I’ve written about big boys before. Konstantin Sergeevich Stanislavsky spoke about his cousins, who were manufacturers, like Konstantin’s father. The young men hunted animals, wolves, bears and foxes. Kennel, horns … And Stanislavsky himself admits that in this company he loves to look at dead animals with his cousins. And then – “music, dance, magic tricks.” Water vacation. In “painted boats”.

“On the night of Ivan Kupala, everyone, big and small, took part in the arrangement of the enchanted forest,” writes Konstantin Sergeevich in the book “My Life in Art.” “People dressed in sheets and makeup were looking for ferns. As soon as they got close, the pranksters suddenly jumped out of the trees. In addition, the rest of the train was waiting for the victims downriver. In the form of ghosts

Stanislavsky’s book contains many more cruel practical jokes. His company spied, tormented the German teacher, lied, intimidated the vacationers of the “property”. Local punks even came up with special effects: they inflated a bull bubble, painted a face, put on a wig. The bubble was then placed, and the youngsters hid in the bushes, rejoicing at the effect.

The founders of the Moscow Art Academic Theater of the USSR named after M. Gorky (MKhAT) People’s Artists of the USSR: Konstantin Sergeevich Stanislavsky and Vladimir Ivanovich Nemirovich-Danchenko

Photo: TASS


There are things you can find out just by “google”. There are little things that suddenly prove that the classics were hooligans in childhood. But not every big guy can create the Stanislavsky system. And the best dramatic theater. And to influence those people in other countries who once received both the Oscar and the Stanislavsky Prize. For example, Jack Nicholson really appreciated all these rules, about the “truth of experiences” and “proposed circumstances.”

Only in the current century, the prize was awarded to Meryl Streep, Jeanne Moreau, Helen Mirren, Jeanne Moreau, Isabelle Huppert, Gerard Depardieu, Harvey Keitel, Rafe Fiennes … Of the Russian representatives: Oleg Yankovsky (posthumously), Inna Churikova , Marina Neelova. The world of the Stanislavsky system brings together a wide variety of people from various countries. Maybe because we, the audience, still believe in the truth of the experiences.


Anton Chekhov’s nephew Mikhail (a famous actor who emigrated after the revolution) was one of the pioneers of the Stanislavsky system in Hollywood. He was hard on Hollywood himself:

“My life is boring, simple and monotonous. Is better. The movie is currently not available. Although they will need her soon, I still don’t want to think about her. I have seen and experienced so many good things in the theater in my life that the film, with its rude and stupid people, cannot be of any interest.

He acted alongside Marilyn Monroe in the film. Talk later. For three years she gave her acting lessons, Grushenka from The Brothers Karamazov rehearsed with her. She was fascinated by the opportunity to become a serious actress. And later the “Stanislavsky system” became a symbol for her. The possibility of changing roles. There were people in Hollywood who, after Chekhov, were responsible for our system. They got good money, they opened acting schools. working with the stars


Dustin Hoffman for “Marathon Runner” (1976) got used to the role, did not sleep for three days and did not wash.

The Russian system became key in Robert De Niro’s career. He approached each of his roles according to the Stanislavsky method. Before filming Taxi Driver, he actually got a license and took passengers around New York for a couple of weeks, before the second The Godfather went to Sicily, for Raging Bull he gained almost 30kg.

Tom Cruise learned to be indistinguishable from others from the movie “Accomplice” and worked in an ordinary delivery service. Adrien Brody lost 30 pounds for The Pianist and learned to play the piano. Chopin performed without an understudy. Someone spent time in a wheelchair, someone did not brush their teeth, someone (Jared Leto) tried on the role of a madman in life, walked on crutches or underwent military training. Director Steven Spielberg generally forced everyone to plunge into the atmosphere of the Second World War for the sake of the film “Saving Private Ryan.” Following Stanislavsky’s system, Spielberg and many others received an Oscar. Or a nervous breakdown.

There is also an opinion that in the West they perceive the process of “getting used to the role” too literally: Stanislavsky himself, at the beginning of his acting career, often repelled from the outside. Sometimes even due to the mistake of the makeup artist, who glued on his crooked mustache. But it’s hard to imagine Stanislavsky getting fat on purpose for the role. I don’t believe it!

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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