Building A Character by Constantin Stanislavski

By Constantin Stanislavski

First released in 1989. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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The Great Chain of Being, the medieval hierarchy that had dominated people’s thinking for centuries, was beginning to fall apart. The line of God’s creation that ordered all living things from God, through the archangels, through the different ranks of man, to the higher animals then down to dogs and worms – each in its place, and each a fixed and permanent distance from the divine – all this was being turned upside-down. Within decades of Shakespeare’s death the parliament of England had killed their king and established a commonwealth.

Bosses swagger and boss but are constantly challenged by people below them. People are better at accepting equal status in the workplace, but a culture of social mobility means that competition for higher-status positions is ferocious, with the result that status behavior is generally very clearly and vigorously displayed. But these crude cultural differences are not the point. Given a few days’ training and the right conditions to practice, people can quickly be taught how to exhibit high- or low-status behavior.

Ah, yes,” she said, “English PAs. They are wonderful. You tell them to do something, they do it. ” This lifts the lid on a complex area. Not only is the relationship between status and hierarchy different in different cultures; the game is played to different rules. People at the top of Japanese hierarchies are culturally required to exhibit extremely low-status behavior while at the same time being given extremely high status by their subordinates (although this is changing today). To Westerners this can offer a totally confusing set of signals.

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