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The Fervent Years

The Fervent Years
Your Price: $21.95 CDN
Author: Harold Clurman
Introduction by: Stella Adler
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 352
Pub. Date: 1983
ISBN-10: 0306801868
ISBN-13: 9780306801860

About the Book:

The Fervent Years is an emotional, well-written, and beautifully articulated behind-the-scenes memoir of the Group Theatre, a groundbreaking American company devoted to naturalistic acting and plays of social relevance.

The Group Theatre has been called the bravest and single most significant experiment in the history of American theatre. In the summer of 1931, three young idealists, Harold Clurman, Cheryl Crawford and Lee Strasberg, were inspired by a passionate dream of a theatre speaking to and for its audience. They recruited 28 actors to form a permanent ensemble dedicated to dramatizing the life of their troubled times. Producing original American plays that reflected topical issues of the decade and giving a creative chance to actors, directors, and playwrights who were either fed up with or shut out of commercial theatre, the "Group" remains a permanent influence on American drama despite its relatively short life span.

It was here that method acting, native realism, and political language had their tryouts in front of audiences who anticipated – indeed demanded – a departure from the Broadway "show-biz" tradition of old-fashioned light entertainment that dominated the theatre of the late 1920's. In this now classic account, Harold Clurman, founder of the Group Theatre and a dynamic force as producer-director-critic for fifty years, chronicles the history he helped make with Lee Strasberg, Elia Kazan, Irwin Shaw, Clifford Odets, Cheryl Crawford, Morris Carnovsky, and William Saroyan.

Many of the group's members went on to become leading acting teachers and directors, passing on to subsequent generations the spirit and principles that motivated them. Stella Adler, Lee Strasberg, Sanford Meisner, and Robert Lewis have counted among their students actors, directors, and playwrights such as Marlon Brando, James Dean, Paul Newman, Meryl Streep, Gregory Peck, and David Mamet. To this day institutions such as the Actors Studio, founded by Cheryl Crawford, Elia Kazan, and Robert Lewis continue the tradition of The Group Theatre.

Stella Adler contributed a new introduction to this edition of The Fervent Years which remembers Clurman, the 1930s, and the heady atmosphere of a tumultuous decade.

What people say:

"Harold Clurman, co- founder of the New York group, chronicled its short, tempestuous life in one of the most attractive books ever written about the theatre, The Fervent Years." — The Globe and Mail

About the Author:

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 (1948-52), then for The Nation (1953-1980) – and also theatre historian and university teacher.