"What are the basic tenets of Realism and Naturalism? why are Stanislavski's System and Chekov's plays perfect vehicles for them?

Essay by x562cambria562xUniversity, Bachelor'sA, January 2003

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Throughout the history of theatre there have been many schools and styles. Theatre is ever changing as a reflection of society and what society wants. But out of all these styles, there are two which, when blended, produce a type of theatre that can always live and flow with society and not drastically alter to fit in with the world's ever changing ways. These are Realism and Naturalism. When combined, they form a powerful, truthful and powerfully real theatre. The two men who have best managed to best combine these two elements are Konstantin Stanislavski with his "system," and Anton Chekov with his dramatic writings and specifically, with his work in The Cherry Orchard

The main beliefs of Realism and Naturalism are that the theatre needs to shun melodrama and spectacle and, instead, present something that is real and true to life. They believe that the most influential factors in a person's life are heredity and environment, and they feel that the characters shown need to be more that two dimensional stock characters.

They need to have real motives and emotions and possess all the complexities that go into making a true personality and a true person. Naturalists feel that plays should not be written in any sort of dramatic sequence or structure because that is not true to life. Realists embrace the desire for reality on stage, but also feel that dramatic structure follows the actual structure of life and structure and poetry should be integral parts of drama.

Konstantin Stanislavski felt that same need for reality on the stage. He spent the majority of his life searching for how an actor can create truth on stage and, in doing so, he tapped into many of the same veins of humanity that Naturalists and Realists did. He expressed the...