By Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe
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Additional resources for Approaches to Acting: Past and Present
Burbage is said to have been fully immersed in his role right from the beginning of the performance to the end, and even when he came off-stage. 8 Cervantes' comedy Pedro de Urdemdles contains a comment by the main character, Pedro, which suggests that full emotional involvement is required of the good actor: Above all, an actor must have a good memory, then a lively tongue, and thirdly his outward appearance must be pleasing. He cannot do without a beautiful figure if he wants to act. His bearing must not be mannered, his recitation not exaggerated.
Only when she was clearly too old to play the parts in her line, such as Gretchen in Goethe's Faust or Ophelia or Desdemona in Hamlet and Othello respectively, was she promoted to first heroine. She would then play a part such as Lady Milford in Schiller's Kabale und Liebe to a Ferdinand young enough to be her son. The system of lines of business also led to the development, especially in the nineteenth century, of a strong star system. Star actors would travel all over the country, appearing in the provinces in plays of their choice, in which they played the leading part to great public acclaim.
The action takes the form of physical motor adjustments which are in line with the emotions felt. A further technique to stimulate the emotion-memory is an awareness of tempo-rhythm, both of movement and regarding speech. Stanislavsky explains how both our actions and our speech proceed in terms of time. In the process of action we must fill in the passing time with a great variety of movements, alternating with pauses of inactivity, and in the process of speech the passing time is filled with The Twentieth Century 41 moments of pronunciation of sounds of varying lengths with pauses between them.