The Stanislovskian “Magic If” is one of the most basic guiding principles that determines what we do on stage. For singing actors though, applying it in reverse is also a crucial skill to develop. Lets discuss both of these!
What is the “Magic If”?
This acting tool is attributed to Konstantin Stanislavski and is at the core of Method Acting.
The idea is pretty simple and intuitive to understand. The “magic if” requires actors to start their stage work by asking, “What would I do if I were in this characters circumstances?”
What is the “fI cigaM”?
Obviously “fI cigaM” is just “Magic If” backwards. This is exactly what you are being asked to do when given blocking. Instead of asking “What would I do if…” you are asking “What would the circumstances need to be for me to do this particular action, or to make sense of this particular music.” Often a singer is required to reverse engineer a stage directors choice. The reversed “Magic If” is a way to conceptualize that process.
If you ever find yourself wondering “what am I supposed to be doing now?” while on the stage use the “Magic If”. If you are ever confused as to why you are being asked to do a particular action on stage use the “fI cigaM” to find your characters motivation.
For more about Stanislavski and The “Magic If”
Check out this book in my store : Stanislovsky On Opera
Check out these articles:
[…] the self-soothing gestures we use follow the same rules of all the other gestures by applying the “Magic If” principle. If your character wouldn’t do those things to the emotion and action the music […]