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The Actor's Second Nature - Stanislavski and William James

Rose Whyman About the author


This article considers the origins of Stanislavski's system and his insistence that the actor's skills, like the musician's, must be honed through daily exercises. Such practice must become the actor's second nature, as Stanislavski terms it. It also compares what Stanislavski has to say about the skills acquisition with the psychologist William James' discussion of the role of habit in learning. This raises some problems in theorizing the system today, as it was rooted in the science of more than a century ago, when much less was known about the mechanisms of memory and learning.

Stanislavski; James; Second Nature; Theatre; Actor

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