The Stanislavski

Method

PRIVATE MOMENT
Name: ________________________________
Date: ____________________ Period: ______

Objective
• Assess your progress with your relaxation efforts.
• Assess your progress with your ability to concentrate.
• To combat the problem of inhibition in front of an audience.
• Recreate a sense of being alone, even though classmates surround the student.
• To develop a private kind of concentration, engendering via the exercise the sense of being unwatched,
which may then be transported into actions, behavior, words and scenes unrelated to the actor’s particular
room.
Introduction
Riffing off of Stanislavski’s famous statement that “Acting is being private in public,” Lee Strasberg
developed the Private Moment exercise to combat the problem of inhibition in front of an audience.
Strasberg’s notion of making use, in public, of the strong impulse and impetus of what happens only in
private has led to fuller commitment, a release of emotions and more vivid expression in many students. As
Strasberg said, “The private moment goes one stage beyond regular concentration and eliminates the effect of
the audience on what you [the actor] do.”
Preparation
For this class exercise, the acting student brings personal articles from home and arranges them in a corner of
the classroom or onstage. He/she may bring books, makeup, an iPod and speakers, a mirror, scissors,
magazines, paper, or other articles. He/she may use furnishings and set pieces in the performance space in
order to replicate the source setting of the exercise.
The student re-creates—through sense memory—the familiar room in which the private experience occurs.
He/she concentrates on bringing all sensations alive for that room. He/she works on creating the room until
he can see, feel, and smell furniture and other objects in the room. By establishing belief in the place, the
student increases concentration and belief in the private activity itself.
The student then proceeds to carry out some activity or activities in which he/she engages only if he/she is
alone. This activity is something he/she would stop (or continue in a different way) if someone, even an
intimate relation, entered the room (for example, cutting toenails, undressing, looking in a mirror, singing,
talking to himself, or dancing with wild abandon.) The private moment exercise should not be confused with
just being alone or just being personal. It does not necessarily follow that being alone means that a person is
private. At home a person knows something is private is he or she stops doing it when someone else enters;
whereas he/she might continue to do something personal, even if a little embarrassed.
This exercise continues uninterrupted for ten minutes.
Going about your daily life, catch yourself in the act of privacy. Record the details below.

Observation Record
Your responses to the prompts below MUST be almost ridiculously specific. Use metaphors and similes to
accurately conjure up the sensation. Be specific about how the sensation physically affects you.
1)

Describe in detail the room/area at home you will recreate in this exercise. Consider shapes, colors,
textures, weights, temperatures, appearances, odors, sounds, how objects move, etc.:
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2)

Describe the series of activities in detail. Describe all the actions and physical sensations.
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3)

List and describe the thoughts, speech and/or song that were part of this private moment. Provide a
simple script or list of “talking points” for your spoken and/or unspoken monologue.
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The Exercise
Repeat the process above in class. You are not doing this exercise in order to learn to pantomime. Work on
reliving each of the specific sensations you recorded above. Do not move on to the next step until you fully
recreate each sensation fully and vividly and specifically.
1)

List the objects you will be bringing with you to class. Describe how each will be pre-set. Describe
how each will be used in the exercise. (Only bring objects that are used in the action or have some
significance to the content of the exercise.)
______________________________________________________________________________
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2)

List and describe the pre-set placements and usage of furnishings and set pieces that are available in
class for your use to replicate your home environment.
______________________________________________________________________________
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Due Date: ________________________________

Reflection [To Be Completed After Your In-Class Performance]
Respond to the following prompts sincerely and with specific detail. Keep in mind that sense memory work
is intended to be a continual process. You are not learning your times tables; these are exercises not unlike
sit-ups or yoga. You continue to develop your ability with no end zone in sight. To achieve any kind of
success you must commit yourself to continually working on it.
1)

How did you feel working on this exercise?
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2)

Which specific sensations gave you the most trouble?
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3)

What specific goals do you have for yourself as you continue to work?
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4)

Discuss your ability to concentrate. Is it sufficient enough to allow you to exclude observers? What
accounts for your assessment?
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Assessment [for teacher use only]
PREPARATION

5

4

3

2

1

RELAXATION

5

4

3

2

1

CONCENTRATION

5

4

3

2

1

DETAIL OF WORK

5

4

3

2

1

ABILITY TO SUSTAIN

5

4

3

2

1

SELF-EVALUATION

5

4

3

2

1

Total ________ out of 30

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