An Actor Prepares (Anglais) Broché – 25 avril 2013
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Elizabeth Hapgood's translation of Stanislavski's work (featured on this page) remains the most widely circulated among English speakers. Unfortunately, it is also highly problematic. By publishing her translations as two separate books "An Actor Prepares" and "Building a Character", Hapgood unintentionally misrepresented Stanislavski's original intentions. In actuality, "An Actor Prepares" and "Building a Character" were both written as two parts of a single book, called "An Actor's Work on Himself."
Hapgood had worked with Stanislavski on an early version of Part One. However, Stanislavski continued to revise his manuscript even after Hapgood had returned home to America. What would eventually be published as "An Actor Prepares" was actually a much-abridged version of what she received from Stanislavski. Not only that, but it is missing Stanislavski's subsequent revisions.
The translation itself is especially difficult to get through. The diction is quaint and Victorian and brings to mind Constance Garrett's dowdy translations of Dostoevsky. What's more is that Stanislavski's sense of humor is largely censored, in favor of contriving a more flowing narrative. While this is understandable, this drastically alters the reader's understanding of Stanislavski's system. The original featured more dialogue among the students to flesh out the concepts in better detail.
To read a modern translation of Stanislavski's work in its complete form, check out Jean Benedetti's excellent An Actor's Work. Up until the publication of Benedetti's book, I would have been perfectly content to recommend the Hapgood version. But the release of the new translation, which is both more readable and truer to Stanislavski's intentions, now fully highlights how impoverished this edition actually is.
The book takes you on a journey of the art - acting. From learning about the magic "IF" to learning how to find your super-objective there is something for all in this book. Everything interrelates forming a web of knowledge and tools that you can take with you forever.
When you read it, however, keep in mind what the author said about his books:
"It is not a hand-me-down suit that you can put on and walk off in; or a cook book where all you need to find is the page and there is your recipe. No, it is a whole way of life."