The Stanislavski

Method

ANIMAL EXERCISE
Name: ________________________________
Date: ____________________ Period: ______

Objective
• Assess your progress with your relaxation efforts
• Assess your progress with your ability to concentrate
• Recreate the sensory experiences of an environment, as experienced by an animal.
Preparation
Select an animal that you can observe in its regular environment.
Your animal: _________________________________________
Its environment: ____________________________________________
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 the animal’s gait.
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2)

Describe the rhythm of its movements.
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3)

Identify and describe its center of power.
______________________________________________________________________________
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4)

Describe its weight and how it is distributed.
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5)

Describe its strength.
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6)

Describe how it uses its hands, paws or claws.
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7)

Describe its knuckle movements.
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8)

Describe how its head positioning and movement.
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9)

Describe how it jumps.
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10)

Describe how it uses its mouth.
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11)

Describe how it relates to and interacts with its environment.
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12)

Describe how it eats.
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13)

Describe how it looks at objects and its surroundings.
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14)

Describe how it sits.
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15)

What sort of things attracts its attention?
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16)

Describe how it concentrates.
______________________________________________________________________________
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17)

Describe the causes and inner impulses that motivate the animal’s action, working from the outer
actions of the animal to discover the animal’s inner impulses.
______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
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18)

Describe its sound/speech.
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________

The Exercise
After careful study and note-taking, practice assimilating the animal’s characteristics and peculiarities. Be
aware of the difference between the animal’s body and your own, and imagine the cause for the animal’s
actions. Recreate the conditioned responses, instincts, and inner life of the animal.
When doing the animal exercise in class, you may use the entire classroom. Decide whether you will be recreating the animal’s natural environment through your imagination or if the animal will be experiencing the
reality of the classroom environment. The latter is recommended.
See your surroundings from the animal’s point of view. Encountering a real object in the room, inspect it as
the animal would. You might react to a classmate as an animal would react to a human. Because an animal
relies on its senses to explain a moving form, your classmates might deliberately move or manipulate objects
in the room to which you would respond. This type of improvisation gives you other ways to respond, to
discover the animal more clearly and to explore the animal’s behavior. With this, your degree of
concentration will be tested. If you are deeply involved, sudden movement should startle you, and other
gestures should catch your attention and produce a characteristic response.
After working on re-creating the outer characteristics of the animal, you are encouraged to makes sounds like
the animal. Even if you have never heard the animal make a sound, use your imagination to explore vocally
the sounds you think might be appropriate. Classmates might even pose questions to which you might
respond.
You will perform this particular exercise three times:
1)

You are recreating the sensations of environment as perceived by the animal. Focus on
living through the physicality of the animal.

2)

You are recreating the sensations of the environment as perceived by a “hybrid”. Here, you
adding some human characteristics—i.e. walking upright, engaging in some human activities,
etc. Keep your focus on recreating the sensations, responding “as if” you were part human
and part animal.

3)

You are recreating the sensations of the environment as perceived by a human with animal
traits. Here, you will engage in an imagined telephone conversation, incorporating
movements, gestures, postures, rhythms, expressions, speech patterns, etc. of the animal.

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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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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