A Study of the Structure of Subjective Experience in Stanislavsky’s 'An Actor Prepares'

Clare, Ysabel. 2014. A Study of the Structure of Subjective Experience in Stanislavsky’s 'An Actor Prepares'. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

Text (A Study of the Structure of Subjective Experience in Stanislavsky’s 'An Actor Prepares')
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Abstract or Description

Stanislavsky’s seminal text An Actor Prepares remains popular and highly influential, difficulties of translation and editing notwithstanding. This thesis proposes that the book delivers a systematic encounter with an implicit and orderly model of subjective experience, to be found in the embodied practice articulated in the text, and which has therefore influenced generations of actors. Process orientated logical typing is employed as an analytical methodology in order to reveal the underlying structure of this model.

This new approach to Stanislavsky’s core concept of Perezhivanie reveals the extent to which subjective experience informs the text and affects the reader. Systematic analysis of structural aspects of the text demonstrate them to be consistent with the disposition of classical rhetoric. Within this robust framework, patterns of exercise function and distribution indicate an underlying lesson plan
and a strategic pedagogy, in the context of which difficulties and successes incrementally potentiate aspects of the model of experience that then provide possibilities among which choices can be made for the purposes of the actor.

Stanislavsky’s pedagogy is condensed and represented, and the structure of the underlying model is made explicit. Five governing principles offer a new perspective on the problem of the actor and Stanislavsky’s solutions to it, and show how specific idiosyncracies of individual experience can be used in practice. The System is then revealed in its own terms, in the light of which key concepts and their inter-relationships can clearly be situated.

This research sheds new light on the value of An Actor Prepares as a pedagogical tool and a model for the depiction of training on the page. The identification of new levels of specificity in Stanislavsky’s model of experience affords a recontextualisation of the System that
will clarify practice, facilitate differentiation between interpretations and permit effective comparison with the work of others as well as making it possible to generate new versions while maintaining the consistency and coherence of Stanislavsky’s model.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):



Stanislavsky, Stanislavsky System, Actor Training, Perezhivanie, living through, subjective experience, Voploshchenie, embodiment, Method Acting, Russian Theatre, psychology of acting, acting, acting exercises, teaching acting, Socratic dialogue, Gregory Bateson, epistemology, constructive epistemology, structuralism.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Theatre and Performance (TAP)


28 July 2014

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

01 Aug 2014 14:04

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 09:02



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