Realism is the 19th century movement that sought to change playwrights from the traditional pieces of romance and instead focus on the day to day activities that shaped the daily lives of the people. The new style of writing influenced the way of acting and led to various changes in the way actors prepared for their roles on stage. The actors prepared for their roles differently by studying the real events in society and then rehearsing on them before acting on stage. If a play was about a rich man the actors would study the ways of rich men in the society and then prepare for their roles on stage based on what they had learned (Taubman 22).
Realism also led to actors being more free on stage; unlike earlier where actors were to stick to the script they were allowed to express themselves on stage so as to depict the real life characters that they were representing in real life as the new way of writing focused the real life events that were taking place. The other significant change from the earlier acting techniques that relied on ideas of emotion and character behavior, the actors were now allowed to immerse themselves in the happenings created on stage and from that create the necessary character as was indicated in the play. This made the acting more flexible than the earlier ways of acting as the actors were allowed to express themselves more rather than sticking to the script which was the method used before realism (Taubman 22).
Since the writing in realism focused on real life situation, the acting also changed to allow actors to fully represent the real life situations. The actors were now allowed to adjust to the situation on stage as the circumstances required them; for example if a prop malfunctions or drops and breaks the actor was required to factor that new circumstance into play and carry out his role without having to refer to the part that was mentioning the broken prop. Realism in play writing led to these changes in acting so as to reflect the real society as it was (Taubman 22).
These changes that were introduced were necessary because the new types of plays were reflecting the real society and therefore the theatre industry had to change to reflect that. This was mostly instigated by the fact that people wanted plays that they could associate with their daily lives that involved governance, religion, politics and family affairs. The roles of the actors therefore, had to change to reflect the new way of writing and in doing that also reflect the society as it was and satisfying audiences with productions that they could relate with.
These changes were also necessary as revolt to the notion that life was rational and orderly and instead focus on reality of society as it was. These changes were also necessary to revolt the romantic art of traditional art that suggested that life was more satisfying romantically while in reality, it was less satisfying and focus on love life as it really was (Morris 67).
Konstantin Stanislavsky was the pioneer of these changes who prepared his actors by sending them to slums to prepare for their roles as poor people. Others included David Belasco who was accredited with introducing the box stage and furnishings that reflected the normal rooms that people lived in. Lee Strasberg also pioneered these changes by following the footsteps of Konstantin Stanislavsky and naming his work the method. The Victorians were also instrumental in pioneering these changes. The following writers are also remembered for the contribution to bring these changes T. W. Robertson, Henry Arthur Jones, Harley Granville, Henrik Ibsen , Eugene O’Neill in America, and Augustin Eugène Scribein in France.