chapter  1
37 Pages

I BIOGRAPHY IN SOCIAL AND ARTISTIC CONTEXT

The challenge for anyone tracing Stanislavsky’s biography is that the path isn’t linear. Sometimes he ditched an idea only to pick it up again years later; at other times, the preoccupations of his mature life can be traced right back to his childhood. He was full of contradictions and often an artistic maverick. Nevertheless, this is a man who was passionate about theatrical ‘truth’. His evolution as a theatre practitioner can be divided into four broad sections: the amateur years, the director dictator, round-the-table analysis and the final legacies. There are times when the work of the director dominated, then for a while the writer became central, and at other times actor-training was foregrounded. Added to all this, there were political events in Russia which influenced his choice of vocabulary, and various artistic ‘isms’ (including Naturalism and Symbolism) also played their part in defining Stanislavsky’s ‘system’.