Ragpickers & radical naturalism: The conflicted discourse of Stanislavsky in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, part two
Taylor & Francis
Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)
In a previous article for Stanislavski Studies I examined the discourse in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand regarding Stanislavsky, providing a series of descriptive snapshots of how his name is invoked in teaching within the region. From this and the concluding piece published here, I argue that although theatre and training have evolved over the last forty years, the symbolic capital associated with Stanislavskian realism remains relatively unchanged. Ian Maxwell’s contention that Australasian practitioners are “bowerbirds” who scavenge detritus to adorn idiosyncratic theatrical assemblages holds true. Artists and pedagogues see Stanislavskian technique as part of an instrumentalised “toolkit” which could potentially give the precarious actor an edge within a restricted labour market. Glenn d’Cruz however suggests that actors might be considered akin to Walter Benjamin’s ragpickers, producing pulpy theatrical fusions out of the refuse of history. The at times overdetermined political, discursive and ideological baggage associated with Stanislavsky persists in rendering him a problematic figure within teaching and practice, even as the identification of Stanislavsky with character-based social realism offers precedents for new, radical dramaturgies.