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The Method

The Method
Your Price: $38.95 CDN
Author: Isaac Butler
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Format: Hardcover
# of Pages: 512
Pub. Date: 2022
ISBN-10: 1635574773
ISBN-13: 9781635574777

About the Book:

"The best and most important book about acting I've ever read... This is an essential book for anyone in the acting profession as well as for anyone who's ever wondered 'How did they learn all those lines?'." — Nathan Lane

The Method is the definitive history of Method actingthe revolution in acting that transformed theatre and film and made acting more human.

On stage and screen, we know a great performance when we see it. But how do actors draw from their bodies and minds to turn their selves into art? What is the craft of being an authentic fake? More than a century ago, amid the repressive measures of the Tsarist autocracy governing Imperial Russia, one of the most talented actors ever, Konstantin Stanislavski, asked these very questions, reached deep into himself, and emerged with an answer. How his "system" remade itself into the Method and forever transformed American theatre and film is an unlikely saga that has never before been fully told.

In The Method: How the Twentieth Century Learned to ACT, critic and theatre director Isaac Butler chronicles the history of the Method in a narrative that transports you from Moscow to New York to Los Angeles, from The Seagull to A Streetcar Named Desire to Raging Bull. He traces how a cohort of American mavericks – including Stella Adler, Lee Strasberg, and the storied Group Theatre – refashioned Stanislavski's ideas for a Depression-plagued nation that had yet to find its place as an artistic powerhouse. The Group's feuds and rivalries would, in turn, shape generations of actors who enabled Hollywood to become the global dream-factory it is today. Some of these performers the Method would uplift; others, it would destroy. Long after its mid-century heyday, the Method lives on as one of the most influential – and misunderstood – ideas in American culture.

Studded with marquee names – from Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, and Elia Kazan, to James Baldwin, Ellen Burstyn, and Dustin Hoffman – The Method is a spirited history of ideas and a must-read for any fan of stage or film.

What people say:

"[an] engaging and meticulously researched history ... Like a good 19th century omniscient novelist, Butler hops seamlessly among his characters' points of view while recounting their lives and times ... Butler's history is an indispensable account of a revolution in acting that ramified beyond the theater." — Los Angeles Times

"An excellent, thorough history of the preeminent school of American acting ... Butler has produced an essential study of this hugely influential theory and practice of American acting. This work should be in every collection of books on theater and film." — Library Journal

"Thoroughly engrossing ... Butler makes an airtight case for the Method as an artistic revolution on par with other mid-century advances." — The Boston Globe

"Butler is the perfect guide – brilliant, insightful, and slyly funny – through the long life of contemporary performance. The Method, like its subject, is forceful, restless, and, above all, real." — The New Yorker

About the Author:

Isaac Butler is an American cultural critic and historian and a theatre director. His work as a director has been seen on stages throughout the United States. His writing has appeared in New York magazine, Slate, the Guardian, American Theatre, and other publications. He holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Minnesota and teaches theatre history and performance at the New School and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn.