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Shirley, DG., 2018.

His Dream of Passion: Reflections on the work of Lee Strasberg and his influence on British Actor Training (Part Two)

Output Type:Journal article
Publication:Stanislavski Studies
Publisher:Taylor and Francis

A previous article for Stanislavski Studies (Vol. 4, No 1, 47-62) explored and examined the impact of Lee Strasberg's Emotion Memory technique and assessed its influence on contemporary approaches to British actor training. This second 'companion' article reflects on a much broader range of Strasbergian training techniques in order, initially, to examine their efficacy and to highlight the extent to which they have been absorbed and adapted by acting teachers working in a British training context. Often viewed as a controversial figure - both in the United Kingdom and in the United States - Strasberg's approach has frequently been vilified and dismissed. This is particularly true of his interpretation of Stanislavski's Emotion Memory technique. Whereas the earlier article sought to arrive at an informed and balanced view of his deployment of this technique, what follows is an attempt to review other aspects of Strasberg's work so as to evaluate the coherence and credibility of the assumptions on which his approach was based and to test whether his work remains appropriate and viable in British training environments today. His work on Relaxation, Concentration and Sense Memory will be examined alongside his development of the Private Moment, Song and Dance and Animal exercises. What, if anything, can we learn from Strasberg's Method-based approach to actor training and how might we begin to consider the impact and unity of his work as a whole as opposed to focusing almost exclusively on his early work on Emotion Memory?