Stanislavsky in Focus brilliantly examines the history and actual premises of Stanislavsky’s 'System', separating myth from fact with forensic skill.

The first edition of this now classic study showed conclusively how the 'System' was gradually transformed into the Method, popularised in the 1950s by Lee Strasberg and the Actor’s Studio. It looked at the gap between the original Russian texts and what most English-speaking practitioners still imagine to be Stanislavsky’s ideas.

This thoroughly revised new edition also delves even deeper into:

  • the mythical depiction of Stanislavsky as a tyrannical director and teacher
  • yoga, the mind-body-spirit continuum and its role in the ‘System’
  • how Stanislavsky used subtexts to hide many of his ideas from Soviet censors.

The text has been updated to address all of the relevant scholarship, particularly in Russia, since the first edition was published. It also features an expanded glossary on the System's terminology and its historical exercises, as well as more on the political context of Stanislavsky's work, its links with cognitive science, and the System's relation to contemporary developments in actor-training. It will be a vital part of every practitioner's and historian's library.

chapter |6 pages


Stanislavsky in the twenty-first century

chapter 1|9 pages

Demythologizing Stanislavsky

part I|41 pages


chapter 2|22 pages

From Moscow to New York

chapter 3|17 pages

New York adopts Stanislavsky

part II|68 pages


chapter 4|15 pages

The classroom circuit

chapter 5|18 pages

The US publication maze

Stanislavsky abridged

chapter 6|33 pages

The USSR publication maze

The System in the subtext

part III|83 pages


chapter 7|19 pages

Stanislavsky’s lost term

chapter 8|19 pages

Emotion and the human spirit of the role


chapter 10|22 pages

Action and the human body in the role

chapter |3 pages


Stanislavsky on his own terms