The highly controversial Deadly Acting Sin #4

This Sin is a controversial one.

Which is…using the Stanislavski System.

Stanislavski’s System has always been held up as the number one way to train an actor for decades in this country. Drama schools swear by it. Drama students study it to within an inch of their lives, but there is only one problem, it doesn’t work.

This is not just my opinion; it was the opinion of the people who first taught it back in the early 1900s. You see, Stanislavski rarely taught students. His system was mainly created by directing actors in plays, and then he handed over the teaching to others, namely, Nikolai Demidov and Eugene Vakhatngov.

Both these men soon found severe flaws with The System. Students they taught quickly became overwhelmed, trying to follow all the various part of it. They had to understand a unit, actions, objectives, super objectives, centre of concentration, objects, to complete a scene. There was a very long list of logical, external, elements that the actor had to think about and execute in a scene. It became like juggling for the actor. They would through one acting ball in the air and keep adding until all the balls fell. Stanislavski realised the problem himself and the need for synergy and the last chapter of his book tries to do this but he never entirely pulled it off.

Vakhtangov and Demidov, did understand the problem very well and were well placed as teachers to resolve it, and resolve it they did. They changed their teaching to a much more organic, alive and creative approach. It didn’t focus on the play develop the actor, which The System did; they focused on on the actors’ instrument (the mind and body) itself. They focused on the actors unconscious and how to work with it to produce immersive highly creative work.

This work has been hidden for decades because the Russian government at the time didn’t want anyone conflicting with Stanislavski’s work. He was world-renowned, and they wanted to keep it that way. It’s only in the last seven years that their work has been published in the west and now we really understand where the method came from and how deep it runs with Vakhtangov and Demidov.

That’s why I have developed my own method approach, incorporating their work, with the work of Lee Strasberg, the inventor of modern method acting. Lee was massively influenced by Vakhtangov (his teacher was taught by him), and if he were alive today and came into the information that we now have regarding Demidov and Vakhtangov, he would have evolved his work I imagine.

That’s why I developed the Timoney Method. It’s unique, one of a kind and the ultimate in method acting.

All part of the Ultimate Acting Programme.

Brian Timoney

The Master Of The Method