To coincide with the recent release of the book Nikolai Demidov: Becoming an Actor-Creator, co-editor and translator Professor Andrei Malaev Babel will give a talk on the history and practice of the great but little-known Russian acting pedagogue
Nikolai Demidov’s School of Acting is Russian Theatre’s best-kept secret. Until the first decade of the 21st century, the name of Nikolai Demidov (1884-1953) was known only to a narrow circle of specialists. Several “high-ranking” Stanislavski disciples prevented Demidov’s practices from surfacing for half a century following the master’s death. In Russia today, the Demidov heritage is slowly making its way into the curriculum at some of the country’s top acting conservatories. One of Russia’s foremost contemporary teachers of acting, Professor Veniamin Filshtinsky of the St. Petersburg Theatre Academy, refers to Demidov’s methods as “pedagogy of the future”.
Demidov was one of the three original teachers of the Stanislavski System (Sulerzhitsky-Vakhtangov-Demidov), the first editor of An Actor’s Work and the founding director of the Moscow Art Theatre School. Stanislavski’s close collaborator for 30 years, Demidov went to disagree with Stanislavski on the use of analysis. Demidov’s School approaches an actor’s process as an indivisible flow of subconscious creativity – from the first steps of training. Moreover, Demidov pioneered non-analytical, organic techniques that enable actors to access and facilitate their intuitive process, as well as the character. The Demidov approach unveiled the secrets of the tragedians, such as Mochalov, Duse and Yermolova. It has proven successful in accessing the higher emotional spheres.
Professor Malaev-Babel’s talk will concentrate on the history of Demidov’s methods, on his relationship with Stanislavski, and the System, and on the contemporary experience of working with the Demidov technique at one of the top acting conservatories in the US.
“Long repressed, Demidov’s radical ideas about acting are now being re-discovered and implemented in Russia. Now, through this extraordinary volume, we who read English over Russian can begin the exploration of these critical insights and lessons, and add a new name to the roster of Stanislavsky’s rebellious sons: Nikolai Demidov. I believe this book may ultimately alter the course of actor training in the west.” (Professor David Chambers, Harvard University and Yale School of Drama).
Trained as a director at the Vakhtangov Theater Institute, Moscow, Russia, Andrei Malaev-Babel is the Head of Acting and an Associate Professor of Theatre at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training in Sarasota, Florida. He is a member of the international faculty and board of MICHA, the Michael Chekhov Association in New York City and on the advisory board of Rose Bruford’s Stanislavski Centre. Since 1997, he has served as the Producing Artistic Director for the Stanislavsky Theater Studio (STS), an award-winning company and conservatory in Washington, DC. He was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award as an Outstanding Director for his production of Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot. He is also the author of The Vakhtangov Sourcebook (Routledge, 2011) and Eugeny Vakhtangov: A Critical Portrait (Routledge, 2012), and co-editor of Nikolai Demidov: Becoming An Actor-Creator (Routledge. 2016). Professor Malaev-Babel is in demand internationally, conducting workshops, presenting and performing at venues, such as St. Petersburg Institute of Stage Arts (Russia), The Latin American Film Institute (São Paulo, Brazil), The Giorgio Cini Foundation (Venice, Italy) and The Odessa Philharmonic (Ukraine). In English.
This event is sponsored by The Stanislavski Centre.