Building a Character


Building a Character (Russian: Работа актера над собой) is the second of stage actor/director Constantin Stanislavski's three books on his method for learning the art of acting. It was first published in Russian in 1948; Elizabeth Reynolds Hapgood's seminal English translation was published by Theatre Art Books of New York the following year.In Stanislavski's most widely read work, An Actor Prepares, he describes a process by which an actor imagines the character he will become. In Building a Character, he explains that the outward expressions of character must flow from that character's inner life: his memories, beliefs, preoccupations, and so on. He then elaborates ways in which the actor's manner of speech, dress, and movement (gestures, facial expressions, etc.) evidence the character's inner experience. Creating a Role, the final book in the trilogy, followed Building a Character in 1957.
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