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Stella Adler on Ibsen, Strindberg and Chekhov

Stella Adler on Ibsen, Strindberg and Chekhov
Your Price: $23.95 CDN
Author: Stella Adler & Barry Paris
Publisher: Vintage
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 352
Pub. Date: 2000
ISBN-10: 0679746986
ISBN-13: 9780679746980

About the Book:

This is a script analysis "master class" in a book from Stella Adler, who strongly believed that all of the clues necessary to perform a role could be found in the script. Robert De Niro says he owes everything to her unparalleled script‐interpretation class where she taught that it is the actor's responsibility to analyze why characters behave the way they do and to become immersed in the world of the play. In this collection of her lectures she gives you her extraordinary script analysis into the classic work of Ibsen, Stringberg, and Chekhov.

An original member of the famed Group Theater, Stella Adler was one of few Americans to have studied the "Method" with its originator, Constantin Stanislavsky, and the founder of her own highly esteemed acting conservatory, she was an experienced film and theatre actress before she started training her students – among them Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, and Robert DeNiro – in the art of script interpretation.

Stella Adler saw script interpretation as the actor's profession ("The most important thing you can teach actors is to understand plays"). Her classes on script analysis became legendary. She discussed plays as scripts for actors, exploring the texts for performance clues; brilliant revelations of the playwrights, the characters, the social class and the time of the play as opposed to one's own. She pressed her students to create characters by closely studying the text of the play and its historical context; how to search for the soul, for what is unsaid; all of this as a way of building craft as distinct from talent.

"Don't use your conscious past. 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. You must get beneath the words before you can say them. The text must be in you. It is your job to fill, not to empty the words. They can only be used if they come out of what you need to say." — Stella Adler

What Stella Adler taught was the gospel according to Konstantin Stanislavsky. She had met the great Russian in Paris shortly before his death. She stayed on to sit at his feet, pick his brain, and ask how he directed Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard. The last Westerner to win his confidence, her passionate belief in Stanislavsky blazes through these lectures designed to inspire and bring to life the plays of the three fathers of modern drama: Henrik Ibsen, August Strindberg, and Anton Chekhov. With passionate conviction and shrewd insight, Stella Adler explains how their the sacred texts forever changed the world of dramaturgy while offering enduring insights on society, class, culture, and the role of the actor. She explores the struggles of Ibsen's characters to free themselves from societal convention, the mortal conflicts that trap Strindberg's men and women, and the pain of loss and transition lyrically evoked by Chekhov.

The book Stella Adler on Ibsen, Strindberg, and Chekhov, brilliantly edited by Barry Paris, allows you to experience the work of these masters "…as if to see, hear and feel their genius for the first time" — William H. Gass

What people say:

"Stella Adler had a very good script-breakdown-and-analysis class that nobody else was teaching. It was just a way of making people aware of character, style, period, and so on." — Robert De Niro

"Superb. Stella's words burn off the page like her beauty, her scornful glance, her authority, and the fire in her truth." — Irene Worth

"One regrets never having seen [Adler] perform, but reading her on these writers, especially Chekhov, is the next best thing." — The New York Times

"A beautiful treasure for actors and directors. Brilliant and passionate." — Kim Stanley

"No critic has ever talked about theater… with more insight and passion. Earthy and sophisticated, imperious and droll, [Adler] had the gift of making plays written over 100 years earlier seem excitingly modern." — The Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Plunges you into the world of theater… [and] reveals Stella Adler as a literary and social analyst, Stella Adler as an acting teacher, and Stella Adler as a great personality." — The New Republic

"These inspired lectures are evidence that Stella Adler is hands down the greatest acting teacher America has produced…. Nobody with a serious interest in the theater can afford to be without this book." — John Guare

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. Stella Adler 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.

Barry Paris is an author and journalist based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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