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Stella Adler: The Art of Acting

Stella Adler: The Art of Acting
Your Price: $39.95 CDN
Biz Bestseller!
Author: Stella Adler
Edited by: Howard Kissel
Preface by: Marlon Brando
Publisher: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books
Format: Hardcover
# of Pages: 272
Pub. Date: 2000
ISBN-10: 1557833737
ISBN-13: 9781557833730

About the Book:

This is an acting "master class" in a book from Stella Adler, arguably the most important teacher of acting in American history, and one of few Americans to have studied the "Method" with its originator, Constantin Stanislavsky.

Stella Adler developed her own "method" built on the work of Stanislavski and Lee Strasberg. Though they both espoused the "Method", her approach differed markedly from that of Lee Strasberg, the founding artistic director of the Actors Studio. Strasberg based his teaching on Stanislavsky's early belief that an actor should perform extensive "affective memory" exercises, improvising and conjuring up "the conscious past" to convey emotion. But she had been to Paris in 1934 and studied under Stanislavsky four years before his death, by which time he had changed his mind and clarified his teachings. He then stressed that an actor should create by imagination rather than memory, and it was this evolution of his thinking that Stella Adler followed to create an approach to acting that is all-encompassing, rich, and multilayered. "Your talent is in your imagination," she taught. "The rest is life. You must get away from the real thing because the real thing will limit your acting and cripple you. To think of your own mother's death each time you want to cry onstage is schizophrenic and sick. Don't use your conscious past," Adler advised. "Use your creative imagination to create a past that belongs to your character. I don't want you to be stuck with your own life. It's too little."

Her teaching had a profound effect on her students. Although Marlon Brando was the quintessential "method actor", he did not study with Lee Strasberg. He was actually trained by Stella Adler and his admiration for his former teacher and mentor was so strong that he wrote the preface to her manual The Art of Acting. Over her long career, both in New York and Hollywood, she offered her vast acting knowledge to shape the careers of thousands of grateful performers, including Warren Beatty, Robert De Niro, Candice Bergen, Richard Dreyfuss, Kim Basinger, Harvey Keitel, Benicio Del Toro, Mark Ruffalo, and Melanie Griffith.

Stella Adler continued to teach until she was 90, giving inspiration to hopeful as well as successful actors by reminding them of the nobility of their profession. Her decades of experience and teaching have been brilliantly caught and encapsulated in this collection of twenty-two lectures edited by Howard Kissel. Her ferocious energy is manifest in every line of The Art of Acting. Perfect for the professional and novice alike.

About the Author:

Stella Adler (1901-1992) was an American actress and an acclaimed acting teacher. She began her life on the stage at the age of five in a production that starred her father, the legendary actor of the Yiddish Theatre, Jacob Adler. She was one of the co-founders of the revolutionary Group Theatre. In 1934, she met and studied with Konstantin Stanislavski and began to give acting classes for other members of the Group, including Sanford Meisner and Elia Kazan. She established the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting in 1949 and taught at Yale University.

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