On Character and Characterization
An actor must live with his own passion. We must hear your own voice, your blood, your nerves. You must be very serious onstage, be able to appraise a fact. I won’t
accept a single moment that comes from “theatre.” No characterization, you are playing yourselves or rather, as we say,
you “proceed from yourselves.” Proceed from yourself, and be very serious … We must fall in love with the character. Even if I play a villain, even
if I play a tragic role of Hamlet. One must be above the character he plays. All this relates to the joy of creation, all this creates a festival. Every character has something in him we can love him for, some
sympathetic qualities. From September 25, 1916, talk given at the Vakhtangov Studio.