1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 December 2013
The problem with this book is that it doesn't offer exactly what the cover says. It is NOT a book about Stanislavski's work, but a summary of the author's experiences during a ten-month-course about Stanislavski techniques in Russia. The author gives some theory and some practical examples, but the book is more about her.
It is not a bad book, but there are much better options out there.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 3 August 2002
An intelligent and very thorough book, tackling the tricky issue of what Stanislavski was experimenting with towards the end of his life and career.
The main problem with the book, however, is that the author seems to think that she's the only person in the west who's aware of this work. This means that Grotowski's work in the same area is ignored - and the same goes for experimenters like Brook, Barba or Lecoq, all of whom have used a physical approach to acting. The fact that the author states that she has decided to call this work 'psycho-physical' draws attention to the fact that she's unaware of the wealth of literature on what Stanislavski himself (and those that have followed him) refer to as 'Physical Actions'.
All in all a very strong book on the subject and massively useful for practitioners and those studying theatre - it's just a shame that the auther herself isn't aware of other practitioners over the last century who have been using the same ideas in the west.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 22 February 2005
I am not a theatre student, nor do I plan to be. In fact I am not entirely sure what possesed me to pick up this book, other than an interest in theatre related stuff. But it is fantastic. As someone who knows next to nothing about Stanislavsky, I was afraid it would be tedious and leave me in utter hatred of books on theatre, however it actually did the opposite.
What was immediately striking about this books was the way in which you see the author's genuine thirst for knowledge, and an utterly truthful passion for what she does, which seems to be something of a rarity in books which cover such detailed anaysis of a particular method of acting. When you first pick it up the author's vibrancy, sometimes innocent naivety, and ever-present love of acting, compells you to read past the first few pages, as a personal story as well as a professional one. Actually I think I would have liked to know more about her own experiences, as a not-theatre-academic, the detailed descriptions of exercises annoyed me somewhat, but I could see their usefulness in actual context.
For the first time I actually enjoyed reading a book that could be seen as academic, because it wasn't just "This is how Stanislavsky method works... You must do this..." It is a personal journey, in a professional context, and it works. Whether or not you are an actor or work at all in theatre, it is an enlightening read.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 8 May 2001
Just as you think there can be no more space for books on Stanislavsky, Bella Merlin has created an entirely new shelf! If you've got AN ACTOR PREPARES, BUILDING A CHARACTER and CREATING A ROLE, here is the fourth book you should have to complete the picture on what Stanislavsky's ideas and theories can bring to the 21st century actor. It provides a condensing of many of the seminal texts on acting processes, and brings them together in an easy-to-understand (though I suspect tougher to put into practice)handbook. In addition, she gets right inside the processes and practices of acting and rehearsing, as she negotiates actor-training in Moscow today. I can't recommend it highly enough. Read it or get out of the business!!