Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

James Thomas


Decades of interpretation based on incorrect and incomplete information regarding Stanislavsky and his System have erroneously guided the advent of modern acting theory in the United States. This study, using current research about the Stanislavsky System, examines four notable acting teachers--Robert Lewis, Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler and Sanford Meisner--to determine whose philosophy most accurately reflects the Stanislavsky System as it is now understood. The concepts of action, imagination, bits, tasks, emotion memory and active analysis are each explored independently. Each concept is examined as it relates to the System and then compared to the concepts as interpreted and put into practice by Lewis, Strasberg, Adler and Meisner. This study suggests that it is Lewis who had the most comprehensive understanding of the System and was closest in practice to Stanislavsky.