Stanislavsky’s Creative State on the Stage. A spiritual approach to the ‘system’ through practice as research

Curpan, Gabriela. 2019. Stanislavsky’s Creative State on the Stage. A spiritual approach to the ‘system’ through practice as research. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This practice as research aims to rediscover and test a spiritual way of preparing the actor towards experiencing that ineffable artistic creativity defined by Konstantin Stanislavsky as the creative state, or as experiencing “the living human spirit, the life of the human soul” on the stage (2010: xxiv). Filtered through the lens of his unaddressed Christian Orthodox background, as well as his yogic or Hindu interest, the practical work allocated for this thesis was conducted during nearly five years of weekly sessions, and followed the odyssey of the artist, from being oneself towards becoming the character. The practice was structured in three major horizontal stages and was developed on another three vertical, interconnected levels. By using various meditation techniques, as un underlying principle of breath, and by observing a certain spiritual way of behaving, the practice began with the creation and constant maintenance of a virtually sacralised atmosphere. Later on, during training, when rehearsing, or while performing, the work evolved into testing all the elements of the ‘system’, with a particular focus given to seven of them that might hold both technical and spiritual values or usability. The procedures through which these elements can be addressed in practice were translated into acting exercises and études designed to elucidate such Stanislavskian principles as ‘morality’, ‘nature’, ‘experiencing’, ‘incarnation’, or the ‘superconscious’. The methodologies used had the purpose of teaching the actor how to give herself the chance of experiencing the creative state, with no guarantees offered—for, truth be told, no one has the power of controlling the hypothetical soul of the artist with its ineffable inner mysterious sources of inspiration or with its subtler higher ways of creativity.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Stanislavsky, the ‘system’, Christian Orthodox Faith, creative state, superconscious, spiritual, actor training, meditation

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Theatre and Performance (TAP)


31 October 2019

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

26 Nov 2019 14:31

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:15


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