Sharon Marie Carnicke | Published Works
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Published Works

Stanislavsky in Focus: An Acting Master for the Twenty-First Century


Confused about the many techniques associated with the great Russian acting teacher Stanislavsky? This book sets the story straight by going back to his Russian-language texts, letters, and notebooks that Stanislavsky wrote. Carnicke sets forth what Stanislavsky actually taught during his life-time and what he believed about the nature of acting. She separates myth from reality, and also examines key differences between the Russian System and the American Method. The glossary of Stanislavsky’s terminology, with its clear definitions and its historical acting exercises, is alone worth the price of the book.


“Outstanding … There are innumerable books about Stanislavsky. Stanislavsky in Focus is the only book worth taking seriously.”
David Chambers, Yale School of Drama, New Haven


Actor Training
Edited by Alison Hodge
Second edition


“Carnicke’s incisive examination of Stanislavsky and his work launches [this] anthology,” writes Cindy Rosenthal in Theatre Journal.


In the opening chapter, “Stanislavsky’s System: Pathways for the Actor,” Carnicke provides an accessible introduction to Stanislavsky’s life, theatrical work and practice through his acting exercises and rehearsal techniques.


In her chapter on “The Knebel Technique: Active Analysis in Practice,” Carnicke has authored the first English language introduction to the work of Maria Knebel, Stanislavsky’s last assistant and Russia’s most influential directing teacher. As director Anatoly Efros put it, “I actually understood [Stanislavsky] only when I came into contact with Maria Knebel.”


Checking out Chekhov: A Guide to the Plays for Actors, Directors, and Readers


Sharon Carnicke brings three decades of theatrical and scholarly experience with Chekhov’s plays to this vivid portrait of Anton Chekhov—a Russian writer whose elusive personality and richly detailed plays have left an indelible imprint on the world’s theatre. Every page reveals the joys and difficulties of his short life, his comic sensibility, deep compassion, and often puzzling use of dramatic style and genre. Carnicke demystifies Chekhov’s plays—forged from his literary innovations, avid theatergoing, love of vaudeville, and loathing of melodrama. She interweaves biographical and cultural information with insightful case studies and close analysis to leave her reader with a full and fresh perspective on an artist, who is as foundational to theatrical traditions as are Shakespeare and Stanislavsky.


“Carnicke’s book brilliantly captures the essence of Chekhov. I can’t think of a better introduction to the work of this most elusive of modern writers.”
Peter McAllister, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London


Chekhov: 4 Plays and 3 Jokes
Translated by Sharon Marie Carnicke


Want a fresh look at Chekhov’s plays? This volume offers lively and accurate translations of Chekhov’s four major plays, as well as three of his most hilarious one-acts. Included is Carnicke’s award-winning Seagull, which “highlights Chekhov’s bitter humor [and makes clear] why Chekhov called it a comedy in four acts” (Sandra Knife, The Evansville Press).


The down-to-earth introduction and cultural notes will benefit actors, directors, students, and general audiences alike.


“Beautifully captures the world of Chekhov that continually teeters between human folly and dignified but poignant heartbreak. I cannot imagine a better compilation to introduce actors to Chekhov.” Mary Joan Negro, University of Southern California


“Chekhov doesn’t emerge as ‘the voice of Twilight Russia,’ or anything mawkish at all, but as a sharp-eyed watcher of some very silly people. Carnicke understands Chekhov and understands Russia.” Robert L. Belknap, Columbia University


“These new translations read smoothly and display fidelity to the original. Carnicke has aimed to find a middle path between versions that are too colloquial and versions that sound stilted or too formal to the American ear and has succeeded.” Jullian W. Connolly, University of Virginia


Chekhov: The Cherry Orchard


Drawn from Sharon Marie Carnicke’s volume of Chekhov: 4 Plays and 3 Jokes(Hackett), this edition of The Cherry Orchard features Carnicke’s groundbreaking translation of a play that has been called “Chekhov’s ultimate theatrical coup d’état.”

The revised introduction includes new material on Chekhov’s last masterpiece.

“Carnicke’s Cherry Orchard is direct, easily accessible to young American students and mercifully free of all that blather that mucks up so much of the other versions that I know.” James Parker, Late Professor of Theatre, Virginia Commonwealth University.


Reframing Screen Performance
Co-authored with Cynthia Baron


In this volume, Carnicke and Baron challenge the long-held belief that cinematic performances are created in the editing room. They demonstrate how various vocabularies, primarily drawn from actor training systems, can be productively used to analyze how actors contribute to the meanings and impacts of films.

If you believe that actors are vital to cinema and that screen acting deserves serious study, then this book is for you.

“A significant contribution to the literature on screen performance studies [that] brings the study of film acting up to date.” Frank P. Tomasulo, Florida State University.


“Compelling case studies reveal how an actor’s film performance contributes to cinematic aesthetics and audience perception. … This unique exploration [is] required reading.” J. Artman, Choice.


“A powerfully argued book.” Steve Neale, Screen.


“Translating Chekhov’s Plays without Russian, or, The Nasty Habit of Adaptation,” in Chekhov the Immigrant: Translating a Cultural Icon 

Edited by Michael C. Finke and Julie de Sherbinin, Slavica Press, 2007


In this essay, Carnicke exposes how Chekhov is often distorted by translators and adapters who cannot read Russian.


“Stanislavsky’s Production of The Cherry Orchard in the US,” in Chekhov Then and Now: The Reception of Chekhov in World Culture

Middlebury Studies in Russian Language and Literature

Edited by J. Douglas Clayton & Peter Lang, 1997.


In her chapter, Carnicke takes “a sobering look at how popular taste shapes art.” (North American Chekhov Studies)


“Stanislavsky and Politics: Active Analysis and the American Legacy of Soviet Oppression,” in The Politics of American Actor Training

Routledge Advances in Theatre & Performance Studies


In this chapter, “Carnicke builds upon her excellent work in the second edition of Stanislavsky in Focus.” Steven Harrick, Theatre Topics


“The Screen Actor’s ‘First Self’ and ‘Second Self’: John Wayne and Coquelin’s Acting Theory,” in Theorizing Film Acting

Edited by Aaron Taylor. New York: Routledge, 2012


If you thought that John Wayne was unaware of acting techniques, this chapter about his role in The Searchers will surprise you.


“Collisions in Time: Twenty-First Century Actors Explore Delsarte on the Holodeck,” in Mapping Landscapes for Performance as Research: Scholarly Acts and Creative Cartographies

Edited by Shannon Rose Riley and Lynette Hunter. Palgrave Press, 2009.


The first anthology in the United States about practice-based methodologies for theatre research.


“The Material Poetry of Acting: Objects of Attention, Performance Style, and Gender in The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut,” Journal of Film and Video, Special Issue on Acting: 58: 2 and 3 (Summer/Fall 2006), 21-30.


“Collaborations between Screen Actors and Directors,” in More Than a Method: Trends and Traditions in Contemporary Film Performance

Contemporary Film and Television Series

Edited by Cynthia Baron, Diane Carson, Frank Tomasulo, Wayne State University Press, 2004


In her chapter, “Carnicke sets the tone [for the book] to add much needed complexity to the subject.” Film Quarterly.


“From Acting Guru to Movie Star: Lee Strasberg as Actor,” in Contemporary Hollywood Stardom

Edited by Martin Barker and Thomas Austin. Arnold Press, 2003.


Learn about the making of Gollum in “Emotional Expressivity in Motion Picture Capture Technology,” Acting and Performance in Moving Image Culture: Bodies, Screens, Renderings

Joerg Sternagel, Deborah Levitt, and Dieter Mersch, eds., Berlin: Verlag für Kommunikation, Kultur und soziale Praxis, 2012.