Stella Adler - The Art of Acting: preface by Marlon Brando compiled & edited by Howard Kissel Hardcover – Feb 28 2005
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From Library Journal
This second collection of Adler's papers precedes the material found in the previous collection (Stella Adler on Ibsen, Strindberg and Chekov, LJ 4/15/99), ending as she begins text analysis. Here Kissel (David Merrick) has taken tapes, transcriptions, notebooks, and other sources to reconstruct an acting course in 22 lessons. What results is Adler at her strongest. Coming from a theatrical family and having studied with Stanislavsky, she became an old-fashioned autocratic teacher determined to pass on the best that she knows. She was certainly the best of her generation. The lessons are graduated from very basic matters to quite complex issues of textual analysis and decorum. Though mostly monologs, they include enough exercises and student responses to get the flavor of Adler's work. Some themes run through these classes: American culture is bankrupt, Lee Strasberg got Stanislavsky wrong, and class and its formality must be learned in order to do major plays through the realist period. This is required reading for anyone interested in theater practice.DThomas E. Luddy, Salem State Coll., MA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
When Adler died in 1992, the theater lost a great teacher, whose depth of experience alone made her invaluable. Daughter of one of the greats of Yiddish theater, Jacob Adler, she studied with Stanislavski, was a founder of the Group Theater and appeared in many of its seminal productions, married the brilliant critic Harold Clurman (they later divorced), and after the Group Theater folded, founded an acting school that rivaled Lee Strasberg's. But she never wrote a book about her theories and techniques. This collection, culled from sound recordings of her at work, at least re-creates the feel of her classes. Editor Kissel deserves great credit for shaping what could have been a chaotic collage of pronouncements into a coherent whole. The book's 22 lively chapters detail Adler's techniques for preparing her students for a life on the stage. Theater aficionados will appreciate Adler's discussion of modern plays and her belief that acting is a rare, privileged profession, and young actors will benefit from the many acting exercises sprinkled throughout the text. Jack Helbig
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
Adler was an eloquent and reverential philosopher of acting, a teacher and acting coach extraordinaire of Brando, de Niro, Warren Beatty, Harvey Keitel, Candice Bergen, and many more. As a young, serious actress she had traveled to Paris, in order to study with Konstantin Stanislavsky, founder of "Method" acting. She was his only American student. She brought his philosophy back to the US, but added her own considerable beliefs to it. She cautions students: "Don't read his book, because it makes absolutely no sense. He came from a culture entirely alien to yours, and you won't understand it."
The twenty-two classes are seemingly presented verbatim. Each 'class' forms a chapter, and has a named subject as its organizing principle. ("Acting is Doing," "Developing the Imagination," Building a Vocabulary of Actions," "Understanding the Text," Dressing the Part," "Instant and Inner Justifications," etc.) Each class is clear, thoughtful and thought-provoking, and wonderfully stimulating. Adler focuses on meaning and the soul of the thing - at all times. In addition, she is delightfully concrete, so you are never lost in well-meaning platitudes.
Right off the bat, you are educated as to why acting is not a cousin to, for example, fashion modeling. Adler is blunt, and supports her assertions.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This book will teach anyone how to "Act as if" in order to attain the life of their dreams!!Published 7 months ago by Chris O'Connor
Lots of life lessons imbedded in this book. It is written from excerpts so sometimes seems choppy.
But this book is truly inspirational.