Active Analysis as an Acting MethodNazım Uğur Özüaydın
Konstantin Stanislavski developed a brand-new working method in the last years of his life called active analysis that was different from the methods he had previously introduced. Active analysis is an acting method that does not appear in Stanislavski’s books, because he had passed away before finding the opportunity to write his findings and thoughts on the active analysis method. His student and assistant, Maria Knebel, was the one who had witnessed Stanislavski’s development of the active analysis method most closely, and she spread knowledge of this method in Russia with the articles and books she wrote on it in the 1950s. However, Knebel’s writings on active analysis would not be translated into English until 2016, thus leaving this method unknown outside of Russia until this time. This study aims to examine the active analysis technique in depth and evaluate its functionality as an acting method in light of the findings obtained from the detailed literature study as well as from practical studies with students from the acting departments of various universities. The study concludes the active analysis technique to reveal the creative potential of an actor, to allow actors to use all their abilities holistically and to create characters they can play completely organically.
Bir Oyunculuk Yöntemi Olarak Aktif AnalizNazım Uğur Özüaydın
Konstantin Stanislavski, yaşamının son yıllarında, “Aktif Analiz” adında, daha önce ortaya koymuş olduğu yöntemlerden farklı, yepyeni bir çalışma yöntemi geliştirmiştir. Aktif analiz, Stanislavski’nin kitaplarında yer almayan bir oyunculuk yöntemidir. Zira Stanislavski, aktif analiz yöntemi ile ilgili bulgularını ve düşüncelerini yazma fırsatı bulamadan hayatını kaybetmiştir. Stanislavski’nin aktif analiz yöntemini geliştirme sürecine en yakından şahit olmuş kişi olan, öğrencisi ve asistanı Maria Knebel, 1950’li yıllarda, aktif analiz üzerine yazdığı makale ve kitaplarla, aktif analiz yönteminin Rusya’da tanınmasını sağlamıştır. Fakat, Knebel’in, aktif analiz üzerine yazdıkları, 2016 yılına dek İngilizce’ye çevrilmemiş; bu nedenle de, aktif analiz, 2016 yılına dek, Rusya dışında pek fazla bilinmeyen bir yöntem olarak kalmıştır. Bu çalışmada, aktif analiz yönteminin derinlemesine incelenmesi amaçlanmış; yapılan detaylı literatür çalışması ve çeşitli üniversitelerin oyunculuk bölümü öğrencileriyle yapılan pratik çalışmalar sonucunda elde edilen bulgular ışığında, aktif analizin bir oyunculuk yöntemi olarak işlevselliği değerlendirilmiş; aktif analiz yönteminin, oyuncunun yaratıcı potansiyelini açığa çıkaran, oyuncunun tüm yetilerini bütüncül bir şekilde kullanmasını ve oynayacağı karakteri tamamen organik bir biçimde yaratmasını sağlayan bir oyunculuk yöntemi olduğu sonucuna ulaşılmıştır.
Konstantin Stanislavski developed a brand-new working method in the last years of his life called active analysis that differed from the methods he’d previously introduced. Active analysis as an acting method does not appear in Stanislavski’s books because had died before finding the opportunity to write his findings and thoughts on this method. His student and assistant, Maria Knebel, was the one who’d witnessed Stanislavski’s development of the active analysis technique most closely and spread knowledge about it in Russia with the articles and books she wrote on it in the 1950s. However, Knebel’s writings on active analysis would not be translated into English until 2016, thus leaving active analysis as a method unknown outside of Russia that time.
After working at the Moscow Art Theater using the table rehearsal method for nearly 20 years, Stanislavski realized that the emotional analysis performed in this method did not help an actor at all once they appeared on stage. This was why he abandoned emotional analysis in favor of allowing actors to go directly on stage and actively analyze their roles.
Table reads are used to examine things such as characters’ personalities, intrinsic motivations, objectives, super-objectives, actions, conditions, emotions, subtexts, and relationships, during which actors try to delve deeper into the characters’ inner worlds, with stage rehearsals only occurring once all the table read processes had completed. However, this leads to a distinction between an actor’s mental and physical work, creating an unnatural gap between an actor’s mental and physical depictions.
Before beginning stage rehearsals, Stanislavski realized stuffing actors’ minds with so much information at a table read before beginning stage rehearsals was not fruitful and thus abandoned the table read method. Stanislavski came to the conclusion that, instead of sitting calmly at the table with a pen in their hands, actors should perform stage rehearsals from the start and experience the psychophysical structure of their roles. He thus developed the active analysis method in order to eliminate the gap between actors’ mental and physical depictions and ensure their psychophysical integrity.
Unlike the table read method, the purpose of the active analysis technique is to allow actors to experience the text of the play by analyzing it actively on stage. The active analysis technique removes the wall between analysis and embodiment (i.e., the gap between the mental and the physical). In the active analysis technique, actors accumulate all the necessary elements for embodying the character they will play, and the transition from mental to physical occurs painlessly, smoothly, and without violating an actor’s creativity. Active analysis is an organic process and the shortest path to physical embodiment.
The active analysis technique uses no table reads. Table reads are done only for the phase of mental reconnaissance in order to understand the plot of the play and determine the sequence of events and character actions. Once the actors have grasped the basic structure of the play at the table read, they move on to the etude stage, during which they perform a more in-depth analysis of the play on stage and in action, rather than at a table. On stage, actors examine the physical and psychological life of their roles simultaneously and actively, experiencing the real and concrete unity and indivisibility of the psychophysical process.
The active analysis method involves the following two phases: 1) the mental reconnaissance phase and 2) the etude phase. The mental reconnaissance phase reveals the skeleton of the part being studied. Meanwhile, the etude phase gives this skeleton its flesh, blood, nerves, and internal organs by physically and spatially testing what was revealed during the mental reconnaissance phase. These two phases establish a constant relationship between the mental work and the psychophysical interplay at each rehearsal. In the mental reconnaissance phase, actors determine the inner actions of the character they will play, while in the etude phase, they discover how to transform the inner motivations they’ve identified into external actions through improvisation. This study has aimed to examine the active analysis technique in depth and evaluated the functionality of active analysis as an acting method in light of the findings obtained from the detailed literature study, as well as from practical studies with students of the acting departments of various universities. In conclusion, the active analysis technique is seen to be a method that reveals actors’ creative potential and allows them to use all their abilities holistically and create the character they will play in a completely organic way.