Creative State/Flow State: Flow Theory in Stanislavsky's Practice

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Nearly seventy-five years after his death, Konstantin Stanislavsky remains a toweringly influential figure, and many fundamental ideas about acting can be traced back to his practice. In this article, Marc Silberschatz examines the correspondences with, and divergences from, flow theory – the theory surrounding the psychological state associated with ‘being in the zone’ – in Stanislavsky's practice. Although separated by vast differences in social, cultural, and historical context, some significant and increasing correspondences between flow theory and Stanislavsky's practice are revealed and examined. Additionally, divergences from flow theory are identified and interrogated, suggesting that Stanislavsky's reliance on fixed, repeatable performance scores and divided consciousness are direct impediments to the achievement of flow. Marc Silberschatz is a PhD candidate at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He is also a professional theatre director whose work has been seen in both the United States and Scotland.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-23
JournalNew Theatre Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Performed - 2013

Author keywords

  • Stanislavsky system, flow, divided consciousness, fixed performance scores