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Method or Madness?: The Highly Acclaimed Lectures on THE METHOD School of Acting

Method or Madness?: The Highly Acclaimed Lectures on THE METHOD School of Acting
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Robert Lewis
Foreword by: Harold Clurman
Publisher: Samuel French, Inc.
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 165
Pub. Date: 1958
ISBN-10: 0573690332
ISBN-13: 9780573690334

About the Book:

A dynamic, inventive and articulate drama teacher and stage director explores in practical, down-to-earth language "The Method," which may simply be defined as a codified formalization of the technique of acting.

Robert Lewis was one of the most renowned acting teachers of the 21st century. In his more than 60 years of teaching – at the influential Yale School of Drama, at New York's famed Actors Studio, at the Lincoln Center Repertory Company, and at his own Robert Lewis Theater Workshop – his students included Marlon Brando, Anne Bancroft, Jerome Robbins, Montgomery Clift, Eli Wallach, Anne Jackson, Patricia Neal, Sigourney Weaver, Faye Dunaway, Tom Ewell, E.G. Marshall, John Forsythe, Sidney Lumet, Karl Malden, and Frank Langella, Henry Winkler, and Meryl Streep.

He was an early disciple of the Stanislavski System, or "method" of acting developed earlier in the century by Constantin Stanislavski, the Russian actor and director, that combined an emotional truth – a significant moment from the actor's past relived in performance – with technique. But Robert Lewis always provided his students with his own personal take on Stanislavsky, reached through his own use of it as an actor, director, and teacher in his acting studio, in rehearsals, and in productions. His book Method or Madness consists of eight lectures he delivered at the Neighborhood Playhouse in April 1957, to a standing room only audience of professional actors, directors and writers. The lectures embodied his attempt to clarify the confusion surrounding the various interpretations of the Stanislavski style, which had all become popularly known as "The Method School of Acting:" what it is and is not; the nonsense, the misconceptions, the myths that have sprung up and flourished around it; its development as a workable theory of stage technique; and its application to all types of theatrical production.

In his introduction to Method or Madness, the celebrated director Harold Clurman referred to the lectures as "a kind of codicil to the classics of the subject, the three books by Constantin Stanislavski." He went on to say "The distinguishing feature of the Lewis lectures, beside their humor, is their common sense." (Any actor who doesn't know who Harold Clurman was should look him up.)

What people say:

"A most illuminating, amusing, and common sensical book. I enjoyed it tremendously." — Helen Hayes

About the Author:

Robert "Bobby" Lewis (1909-1997) was an American actor, drama teacher, and theatre director. Born in New York City, he studied cello at the Juilliard School of Music before deciding he would rather be an actor. He made his first appearance on stage with the Civic Repertory Theatre in 1929, and two years later joined the Group Theatre Acting Company, noted for its adherence to the acting theories of Stanislavski. He was a founder of the legendary Actors' Studio in New York City and a successful director of Broadway plays and musicals. He taught at the Yale School of Drama (1941-76) and later established his own theatre workshop in New York City.

Harold Clurman (1901-1980) was a visionary American theatre director and drama critic, "one of the most influential in the United States". He studied directing at the American Laboratory Theater in New York. His life in the theatre extended from acting with the Theatre Guild in the 1920s, through his creation and direction of New York City's Group Theatre in the 1930s, to a distinguished post-war career as free-lance director, highly respected theatre critic – first for the New Republic (1948-1952), then for The Nation (1953-1980) – and also theatre historian and university teacher.

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