Grounding Stanislavskian Scene Analysis in a Formal Theory of Action

Leora Morgenstern

At the turn of the last century, Constantin Stanislavski developed a new system of acting, replacing the mannered gestures and forced emotion then popular with a more natural style. The core of his system lay in having actors perform a process of scene analysis, in which an actor would flesh out the circumstances of the play so that the character's motivations and actions would follow logically from the fleshed-out scene. This paper is an attempt to ground Stanislavski's method of scene analysis in a formal theory of action. We discuss the relations between Stanislavskian and formal AI theories of action and planning, give a formal definition of the end product of a scene analysis, and characterize the conditions under which a scene analysis is coherent. We discuss these definitions relative to Stanislavski's analysis of the first scene of Othello, give a sample scene analysis for a short drama-school-exercise scene, and show that it is coherent according to our definition.

Subjects: 5. Common Sense Reasoning; 11. Knowledge Representation

Submitted: Feb 2, 2007


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