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Google Doodle bows to Stanislavski, the man behind method acting

Konstantin Stanislavski famously said "there are no small parts, only small actors."

The basics of Konstantin Stanislavski's system are seen in Thursday's Google Doodle.

Google Doodle

Thursday's Google Doodle pays tribute to Konstantin Stanislavski, a Russian actor, on what would've been his 156th birthday.

Konstantin Stanislavski as Don Juan

Stanislavski plays Don Juan in 1889.

Getty Images

Konstantin Sergeyevich Alexeyev was born in Moscow on Jan. 17, 1863, and took the stage name Stanislavski to conceal his theatrical work from his affluent family.

Initially a performer, he also took an interest in directing and production, and he founded the Moscow Arts Theater with playwright and director Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko in 1898.

But Stanislavksi is best known for his "system" of training actors -- which  developed into method acting in Hollywood and on Broadway, where it became associated with award-winning performers like Marlon Brando, Meryl Streep and Al Pacino, among many others.

He came up with seven questions, which can be seen in the animated Doodle that's visible in parts of Europe, Asia and South America, for actors to ask as they explored their characters:

  • Who am I?
  • Where am I?
  • What time is it?
  • What do I want?
  • Why do I want it?
  • How will I get what I want?
  • What must I overcome to get what I want?

They're designed to make actors reflect deeply on their characters and what's motivating them.

"Remember: there are no small parts, only small actors," Stanislavski said.

He was awarded the Red Banner of Labor and the Order of Lenin and given the title "People's Artist of the USSR." He died in Moscow on Aug. 7, 1938, aged 75.

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