Biomechanics II : four levels

Theatre Biomechanics with Anatoly Preface BM acting *

TOPICS: drama + comedy + postmodern + time + space + spectator + epic theatre + physical acting + mise-en-scene + commedia + chronotope + floor plan +
"What we need is a new kind of theatre... We need new forms.... I don't want to show life how it is, or the way it should be, but the way it is in dreams." Treplyov/Meyerhold, The Seagull (1898)
film acting:

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* 2007 -- This directory could bs and should be call "Acting Area", about Actor and Space...
Acting One
Fundamentals : BioMethod

* The Images (The Albums) are not all in place! [new from vTheatre -- GeoAlaska, links to my graphic files are in the list minipages]

virtual theatre
2009: Lul Theatre
2003: Film600: Bad Theories, Wrong Subjects
2005: total directing & total acting
2008 : t-blog + online?


First read the old BM files! I have to move the development of BM pages to (my theatre webpages).
One is the old directory @ is overloaded. Second, I began it without understanding that I will teach it within the Intermediate Acting THR221...
Third -- the old server allowed only horizontal development and I need vertical hierarchy: BM I, II, III, IV ("under development" right now).
(c)2004 * 2008


BM as STYLE? (style -- Playwright’s use of time and space in the play in relation to reality: the filter through which the audience sees the play in relation to his or her own life). Same with any artist (actor)!


Part I-III of the textbook must be reviewed for THR221 (test).
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* one act fest
I want to burn with the spirit of the times. I want all servants of the stage to recognize their high destiny. I am irritated by those comrades of mine who have no desire to rise above the narrow interests of their caste and respond to the interests of society. Yes, the theatre is capable of playing an enormous part in the transformation of the whole of existence! ~Meyerhold (Braun 159)
new : Total Actor Files


... intro, title...

... about theatre spaces and actor.

Monologues, Take 2 ("Nine Squares")

index * BM1 * BM2 * BM3 * BM4 * * 200X * Film Dir * Books * Theatre w/Anatoly * SHOWs * Script Analysis * Acting 101 * Directing * Russian-American Theatre (RAT) * Classes * VIRTUAL THEATRE * Plays * Anatoly's Blog *
Copeau wrote in 1944 titled "An Appeal to the Young":

"You are addressed on all sides; you are beseeched, flattered, solicited, bribed, molested and exhorted, perhaps more than you are guided. I see many of you suffering from not knowing where to begin, how to find a balance, or what way to start working. Students complain that they receive only vague instructions and lack the basics. And their teachers, their elders and their leaders are sorry to find only an inconsistent clay to mould, minds which are not sufficiently docile.

How I should like to help you! How I should like to find the words to answer your questions, to enlighten your minds and warm your hearts!

I think you are placed between two dangers: the one of blindly and radically repudiating what was said and done before you, and the other of awaiting future salvation from some other effort than the one you will be able to make on your own. Contempt and disgust for old disciplines is no less perilous than hesitation and laziness in forming new ones.

I am neither a sociologist nor a qualified moralist. I am only a sincere worker, a friendly adviser who does not claim to give advice except from his own personal experience. For this reason, I can tell you two things. The first is that no great change is valid, no great renewal is durable, until it is linked to a living tradition, a profound native spirit.

The second is that, in order to bear fruit that is neither artificial nor ephemeral, a renewal of this kind must begin with the human being. Without falling back, without egoism, with as much modesty as ardour, it is primarily with yourselves that you should begin, with lucidity, simplicity, seriousness, application and courage. Try to be men, whatever your desires and aspirations, the career you choose to follow, or the technique you intend to master. Do not let yourselves get dried up, nor debauched, but apply yourselves with a will to making a beautiful, solid, happy, courageous and adaptable human harmony prevail in your character. You see, my friends, it is especially and uniquely important, in the midst of such confusion, to sign a pact with your soul, and to hold firmly to it. Do not smile too much at the gravity of my words. Everything today is of an exceptional and implacable gravity. You have no choice. Each one of you must, in your secret soul, be a hero and a saint for yourself.

You are probably saying that this takes us a long way from theatre and devotion to theatre. Far from theatre perhaps, but not from the devotion I think is needed, and will be for a long time yet, if we intend to make a new spirit prevail. My language has hardly changed in thirty-one years, and has often been ridiculed. Indeed, I have been able to observe too often that theatrical mores have not changed very much. Even today I see theatre threatened by the same evils, the same abuses and the same treacheries it suffered from when I declared war on them a quarter of a century ago. We still find arrogant stars, sordid intrigues and base literature in the theatre, and I am afraid there always will be. Thus, it is another reason for increasing the numbers of its defenders and for closing ranks; another reason for trying to purify it, even if, and especially if, we do not flatter ourselves that we completely succeed.

Let us make an effort to acquire the craft and not let ourselves be devoured by it. Actors, authors, critics, public: let us prepare a phalanx of energetic theatre people with a healthy and elevated taste, full of fervour, gaiety and severity. [...]

Therefore, respect for work, assiduousness and diligence, punctuality at rehearsals, attention to minute details in preparation; in short, respect for the public, and above all, faith in the young."

[From ‘Devotion a l’Art Dramatique’, lecture at the Theatre Recamier, Paris, 16 May 1944, published in Registres I, pp. 108-10]


This is a new directory, but I have to say goodbye to it. No, I am not about to stop writing online, but this lovely form has its limitations. The webpages could grow that much -- you have to get to the old fashion ways, the chapters. The book. Books are quiet, books do not ask for daily rewrites. Books wait for you. Books are like trees. Like sky. They are modest.

So, I have to break with you, girl-friend. I miss my family, the centuries of writing on paper.

... The reasons for writing this textbook are simple. I teach and my students must UNDERSTAND the craft, so, I have find the forms and even formulas of acting. I teach what I use myself, when direct or write. But to pass my personal knowledge to others asks for different medium. We have to use our mind, the analytical part of it. Especially, in Theatre Biomechanics. If you are a genius you would read the book for pleasure, you are not, you need to help youself. You need to know what to do, when you had reach the limits of your creativity. Meyerhold was crazy, he thought that anyone can act (do you see movies?)... as anybody can learn how to use a hummer. Leave the mystery of act to secret hours of your personal agony, there are many things you can do to fake acting...

Did I say it? Well, acting is "faking" (mimesis) of actual behaviour. Acting is an illusion, an immitation of the Real -- and art is more REAL than the real life. Because we celect only the best of it, we take out the waste, the errors, we edit "real" reality, we make sense of it.

We learn everything; to seat, walk, speak, read and write -- well, maybe this is right time to speak about "grammar of acting"?

Wait! We need to define "acting space" first...

I want to follow my own tradition of using preface pages for complaining, blaming and cursing everybody who forced me to work on this book.

Meyerhold, to start with. The man is dead, we never met -- what did I do to him to punish me? I didn't see his shows, yes, maybe I met some old actors in Moscow, who worked with him, maybe I didn't say something I should say... But I was young, man! What did I know? Is it a good reason to hunt me for decades?

And the others! They all dead and have all the time in world to watch me, I feel them even when I asleep! Do you understand how to use the stage space? Do you know the transformation of real time into subjective time? No, you still didn't write a good definition for "stage event"! We are not convinced, we don't see it...

Oh, give me a break! Why didn't you do by yourselves!

Well, they do not have to answer me, they the priveliges of being dead. Sort of dead.

MASTER: Silence! In order to write "stage sentences" we need the space to it. What is this "stage-machine"? If we want to have the "stage time," we need the special 3D space; "special" because is "focused" (cut out of the rest) space. Stage is meeting point of the "normal" (visible) and "sacred" (invisible) spaces:

outer space ---> theatre ---> inner space
This special cerimonial space eventually asked for theatre bulding as a part of any city. This is the fist step of organizing the sacred space (simular to the church idea). Second, the inner structure of THEATER: again, use the church traditional space designators. Traditionally, we consider the stage is a center of the theater, but the final target is the (invisible in the darkness) spectator:
inner (sacred) world ---> stage ---> public
In the reversed line of theatre communications the spectator is the only element which has the ability to percive the non-visible messages, he is the actual theatre machine!

So, this is how the stage is formated to target him:


Did you notice that stage is (already) divided into several levels (floor plans); horizontal and vertical plans. The "hidden" areas (backstage, wings and the house itself) are the speces of potential "dramatic" energy. "Potencial" -- because we will need the "raising action" from the moment ACTION begins, without this process we can't have "dramatic time"...

Please, remember about the "gravitas" of your every motion on stage; the visible space on stage v. the hidden is 1:4 -- your movement change the entire gravital dynamics on stage!

... Dear reader, if do not believe that any show is a specific ritual, stop reading. Do some dinner "theatre" -- continue the foolish ride on the "entertaiment" idea. If you would focus on the message -- you will entertain the public! You try to entertain them, you will fail! If you image not just the space around but the historical time behind you when you step on stage, you are have a chance to become an actor. The stage space has milleniums of evolution -- we are at summit of it... Of course, there are more mountains ahead to claim. Theatre is playing and gaming, because our business is very serious, most important of all human activities, because it is about being humans...

MASTER: Anatoly, get back to the issues!

No time for reflections on different stages... the main laws are the same.



[ the stage space is decided by the nature of a spectacle -- the connection between Aristotle's "Thought/Idea" and textural elements. The phases of the process of building of chronotope: space, time and energy pre-arrangements. ]

In (first) universe the mass/gravity creates time-space arrangements around itself, in our (man-made) spiritual universe the "mass" has to be created by artistic space-time manipulations. Actors should remember that "directions" (including ALL designs) are organized around them, for them to activate the stage chronotope of drama. The dichotomy of Actor-Machine concept is in "stage-machine" idea (M), when actors turn their stage directions into directing of the public. Actor are the directors live on stage. Performance text is the only text audience reads; the actual show takes place in their mind and hearts, the true place of drama...

3D: the "church" organization of the stage (holy) space -- the vertical!

* Actor, you MUST be awared the space you are in: it's not "normal" place, but tranformed for spectacle -- and the spectacle only! If there is no spectacle at any given moment, the space will work against you! ...

A Note about my all webpages:

Structure: Four levels = four parts on each webpage!

"Top to Bottom": First -- the easiest. Last -- most difficult.
Navigation: top left table.
Right table -- advertisement (including my own pages). Also, Notes and comments.
[ I will clean up the pages, when they get to their natural shape -- what belongs here and what is not; including pix. There are many texts are missing: on energy and mass of stage event, for example. Or the captions to images... Maybe I am wrong and actors do not need so many addresses why the new subjects (inertia of dramatic event?) are important. At least, the advanced actors and directors. "Biomechanics for Method Actors" (title) presumes that you are advanced one, the one knows something about the Method. ]
Lesson #
60 or 90 min

1. review (previous class)

2. overview

3. new key terms & definitions

4. monologues & scenes

5. issues & topics

6. questions, discussion, analysis

7. in class work

8. feedback

9. improv & games

10. reading

11. homework

12. online, journals

13. quiz




Class Project (after the midterm)

playsChekhov, Ibsen, Shakespeare - Acting resources, career guides, and casting information.

My Wish List

ReadSpeaker AudioFeed - Podcast of this blog

Venice Carnival 2002 & DJ 2003 See 2004 (plans) to know what to expect.
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(c)2004 * New graphic files (mostly from the Bakhrushin Theatre Museum, Moscow) * Forest Cuckold

* Grotowsky and Grotowski-director

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