Konstantin Stanislavski: What you didn’t know (TLC)

Entrance to the Moscow Art Theatre, a very important location is establishing and learning Stanislavski’s new methods.

Many people are familiar with the name Konstantin Stanislavski. They know that he was Russian.  They know implemented a new acting style. They know he left a legacy behind him by teaching students such as Michael Chekov, Stella Adler, Richard Boleslawski and several others. However there are several facts about Konstantin that they may not know, and that is what this essay will discuss.

What many people may not realize is that Konstantin’s career as a director came second after his career as a successful business man. Konstantin studied business and languages at a prestigious school in Moscow Russia. After he graduated he joined his father, Sergei Alekseev’s, company. He eventually became the head of his father’s business, and made a fortune in international trade. These accomplishments eventually led to him being awarded the gold medal at the World’s fair in Paris.  While he was paving a business career, he was also acting as a patron of the arts and theatre in Russia. In 1885 he studied acting and directing at the Maly Theatre in Moscow, and took the stage name Stanislavski. His name up to that point had been Konstantin Sergeevich Alekseev. Not only was Konstantin’s career different pre-dating 1885; he was born with an entirely different name.

The following years led to the startup of the Moscow Art Theatre and Stanislavski taking on several soon-to-be-famous students. What people may not realize is that Stanislavski and his theatre suffered at the hands of communists just after these students started branching out. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, his fortune, and business property was nationalized by soviet communists. Aside from his mansion, Stanislavski let go of his wealth and possessions choosing instead to represent himself through writing.

Lastly, it may not be known that Stanislavski’s mansion in Moscow has now been made into a public museum and research center. It displays original props, costumes, set designs; essentially a collection of theatre memorabilia.  The museum also features Stanislavski’s personal library; complete with rare books, letters, and novel manuscripts. Konstantin Stanislavski’s legacy will live on for years to come, but perhaps now his legacy will be better understood. He worked hard to get to where he was, and proved that different backgrounds can be utilized to aid your theatre experiences and career.


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