The life of a character should be an unbroken line of events and emotions, but a play only gives us a few moments on that line - we must create the rest to portray a convincing life.

— Constantin Stanislavski

The most useful Constantin Stanislavski quotes that are life-changing and eye-opening

Create your own method. Don't depend slavishly on mine. Make up something that will work for you! But keep breaking traditions, I beg you.


Remember this practical piece of advice: Never come into the theatre with mud on your feet. Leave your dust and dirt outside. Check your little worries, squabbles, petty difficulties with your outside clothing - all the things that ruin your life and draw your attention away from your art - at the door.


In every physical action, unless it is purely mechanical, there is concealed some inner action, some feelings. This is how the two levels of life in a part are created, the inner and the outer. They are intertwined. A common purpose brings them together and reinforces the unbreakable bond.


When you're playing a character who's cruel, look for the places where he's kind. When you're playing a character who is unhappy, look for the places where he has a glint of merriment.


Of course, if you have thought up to now that an actor relies merely on inspiration you will have to change your mind. Talent without work is nothing more than raw unfinished material.


Unless the theatre can ennoble you, make you a better person, you should flee from it.


You'll never see any two good actors approach a role in the same way.


Doubt is the enemy of creativeness.


The direct effect on our mind is achieved by the words, the text, the thought, which arouse consideration. Our will is directly affected by the super-objective, by other objectives, by a through line of action. Our feelings are directly worked upon by tempo-rhythm.


Remember: there are no small parts, only small actors.


Every person who is really an artist desires to create inside of himself another, deeper, more interesting life than the one that actually surrounds him.


In the circle of light on the state in the midst of darkness, you have the sensation of being entirely alone... This is called solitude in public... During a performance, before an audience of thousands, you can always enclose yourself in this circle, like a snail in its shell... You can carry it wherever you go.


About Constantin Stanislavski

Quotes 51 sayings
Nationality Russian
Profession Actor
Birthday October 16

Love the art in yourself, not yourself in the art.


A true priest is aware of the presence of the altar during every moment that he is conducting a service. It is exactly the same way that a true artist should react to the stage all the time he is in the theater. An actor who is incapable of this feeling will never be a true artist.


In the creative process there is the father, the author of the play;

the mother, the actor pregnant with the part; and the child, the role to be born.


Our demands are simple, normal, and therefore they are difficult to satisfy.

All we ask is that an actor on the stage live in accordance with natural laws.


The main factor in any form of creativeness is the life of a human spirit, that of the actor and his part, their joint feelings and subconscious creation.


Talent is nothing but a prolonged period of attention and a shortened period of mental assimilation.


The theatre infects the audience with its noble ecstasy.


The greatest wisdom is to realize one's lack of it.


Young actors, fear your admirers! Learn in time, from your first steps, to hear, understand and love the cruel truth about yourselves. Find out who can tell you that truth and talk of your art only with those who can tell you the truth.


We have as many planes of speech as does a painting planes of perspective which create perspective in a phrase. The most important word stands out most vividly defined in the very foreground of the sound plane. Less important words create a series of deeper planes.


Success is transient, evanescent. The real passion lies in the poignant acquisition of knowledge about all the shading and subtleties of the creative secrets.


I have taken film-work that has been a little more cliché-written, to support myself and my family, and that's a whole kind of other challenge. It's like chopping wood: You've got to take what you can get and bless what withstands you. But in theatre! There's enough great theatre that you can find something interesting!


All art is autobiographical - if it's not, it's not going to quicken on-stage, and it's not going to come alive.


In spite of my great admiration for individual splendid talents I do not accept the star system. Collective creative effort is the root of our kind of art. That requires ensemble acting and whoever mars that ensemble is committing a crime not only against his comrades but also against the very art of which he is the servant.


Who am I? What will I be? Why am I here? Where am I going?


You must be so thoroughly immersed in the given circumstances of the play, then you decide what it is at any given moment what that the actor wants.


The character has to have some kind of arch.

The character has to go through an event, and be changed by the human event.


At times of great stress it is especially necessary to achieve a complete freeing of the muscles


Gratuitous cruelty borders on the pathological, psychotic and that becomes uninteresting because there is no choice.


Play well, or play badly, but play truly.


When we are on stage, we are in the here and now.


The language of the body is the key that can unlock the soul.


The actor must use his imagination to be able to answer all questions (when, where, why, how). Make the make-believer existence more definite.


All action in theatre must have inner justification, be logical, coherent, and real.


In the language of an actor, to know is synonymous with to feel


The person you are is a thousand times more interesting than the best actor you could ever hope to be.


It is only when an actor feels that his inner and outer life on the stage is flowing naturally and normally, in the circumstances that surround him, that the deeper sources of his subconscious gently open, and from them come feelings we cannot always analyse.


What is important to me is not the truth outside myself, but the truth within myself.


The main difference between the art of the actor and all other arts is that every other [non-performing] artist may create whenever he is in the mood of inspiration. But the artist of the stage must be the master of his own inspiration, and must know how to call it forth at the hour announced on the posters of the theatre. This is the chief secret of our art.


When an actor is completely absorbed by some profoundly moving objective so that he throws his whole being passionately into its execution, he reaches a state we call inspiration.


In the given circumstances you must be rooted in the play.

Do not depart from the play. Don't cut yourself off from your partner in the scene, or partners.


Fear your admirers! Learn in time to hear, understand, and love the cruel truth about yourselves!


In life we listen to other people. Listen with varying degrees of concentration and attention, right? Actors must learn to listen in a different way.


Never allow yourself externally to portray anything that you have not inwardly experienced and which is not even interesting to you.


I was born an ordinary actor. I will die an ordinary actor. But I've persisted.


In talking about a genius, you would not say that he lies;

he sees realities with different eyes from ours.


Stage charm guarantees in advance an actor's hold on the audience, it helps him to carry over to large numbers of people his creative purposes. It enhances his roles and his art. Yet it is of utmost importance that he use this precious gift with prudence, wisdom, and modesty. It is a great shame when he does not realize this and goes on to exploit, to play on his ability to charm.