Lee Strasberg: Stanislavski/Stanislavsky’s Rightful Heir?

Lee Strasberg: Stanislavski/Stanislavsky’s Rightful Heir?

As you may know, several weeks ago (is it months?) I published a post called 10 Reasons That I HATE Method Acting, a bit of a publicity piece aimed at getting attention for the blog. I admit it. I do believe what I wrote, but it’s main intent was to get responses, so thanks to all the Method people who have attempted over the last few weeks to correct, educate, and belittle me. Some of your messages were very interesting and even enlightening. Not one of you have managed to convince me yet that a stripped down version of Stanislavski’s work known as Practical Aesthetics is less than effective, but I take some of your points. (Particularly the points made by NAME DELETED, a Strasberg expert from NYU who then politely asked me to delete his comments).

However, from David Strasberg, NAME DELETED and many of their former students, I am receiving a very loud and clear message. I’m hearing the words ‘Method of Physical Actions’ is discredited and Strasberg is the Rightful Heir and only genuine continuer of Stanislavski’s wishes. (Despite never meeting him, but don’t worry, they’ve got an excuse for that one too).

Now Lee Strasberg passed away a long while ago and so we’re left in a pickle. We can’t ask him and he can’t tell us. The same applies to Stanislavski or Stanislavsky, depending upon your preference. So, we’re left with the ‘documents’ proof positive one way or another that proves/disproves who is the rightful heir. One book gives the Strasberg the crown, another takes it away. Strasberg’s loyalists see the argument through the lens of The Method and the Method of Physical Action loyalists deny them. It’s kind of fun to be out on the sidelines watching the battle royale. I intend to ask Bella Merlin what she thinks at some point, between her and Jean Benedetti, our picture of MOPA is built. Although the Strasbergians tell me it’s now discredited as part of the horrible Soviet institution. A convenient argument for a return to pre-MOPA approaches, particularly favoured by Strasberg.

I’m beginning to wonder how far into this debate I want to go, I’m fascinated, and the books and articles that are suggested by all my Method correspondences will prove very helpful. They’ve also helped me to produce a thorough picture of the most common assaults on David Mamet and Practical Aesthetics.

I invite you all to join me in the stands for this debate, because it’s fascinating.  As always, those of us that hold an opposing viewpoint are reduced to the role of ‘idiot’, ‘ignorant’ and ‘unknowing’. Sure thing.


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