Cover image for The art of acting
The art of acting
Adler, Stella.
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Publication Information:
New York, NY : Applause, [2000]

Physical Description:
271 pages, 8 pages of plates : illustrations ; 23 cm
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PN2061 .A36 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PN2061 .A36 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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(Applause Books). Stella Adler was one of the 20th Century's greatest figures. She is arguably the most important teacher of acting in American history. Over her long career, both in New York and Hollywood, she offered her vast acting knowledge to generations of actors, including Marlon Brando, Warren Beatty, and Robert De Niro. The great voice finally ended in the early Nineties, but her decades of experience and teaching have been brilliantly caught and encapsulated by Howard Kissel in the twenty-two lessons in this book.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

When Adler died in 1992, the theater lost a great teacher, whose depth of experience alone made her invaluable. Daughter of one of the greats of Yiddish theater, Jacob Adler, she studied with Stanislavski, was a founder of the Group Theater and appeared in many of its seminal productions, married the brilliant critic Harold Clurman (they later divorced), and after the Group Theater folded, founded an acting school that rivaled Lee Strasberg's. But she never wrote a book about her theories and techniques. This collection, culled from sound recordings of her at work, at least re-creates the feel of her classes. Editor Kissel deserves great credit for shaping what could have been a chaotic collage of pronouncements into a coherent whole. The book's 22 lively chapters detail Adler's techniques for preparing her students for a life on the stage. Theater aficionados will appreciate Adler's discussion of modern plays and her belief that acting is a rare, privileged profession, and young actors will benefit from the many acting exercises sprinkled throughout the text. --Jack Helbig

Library Journal Review

This second collection of Adler's papers precedes the material found in the previous collection (Stella Adler on Ibsen, Strindberg and Chekov, LJ 4/15/99), ending as she begins text analysis. Here Kissel (David Merrick) has taken tapes, transcriptions, notebooks, and other sources to reconstruct an acting course in 22 lessons. What results is Adler at her strongest. Coming from a theatrical family and having studied with Stanislavsky, she became an old-fashioned autocratic teacher determined to pass on the best that she knows. She was certainly the best of her generation. The lessons are graduated from very basic matters to quite complex issues of textual analysis and decorum. Though mostly monologs, they include enough exercises and student responses to get the flavor of Adler's work. Some themes run through these classes: American culture is bankrupt, Lee Strasberg got Stanislavsky wrong, and class and its formality must be learned in order to do major plays through the realist period. This is required reading for anyone interested in theater practice.DThomas E. Luddy, Salem State Coll., MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Marlon Brando
Prefacep. 7
Class 1 First Steps On Stagep. 9
Class 2 The World of the Stage Isn't Your Worldp. 29
Class 3 Acting Is Doingp. 44
Class 4 The Actor Needs to Be Strongp. 53
Class 5 Developing the Imaginationp. 63
Class 6 Making the World of the Play Your Ownp. 75
Class 7 Getting Hold of Acting's Controlsp. 86
Class 8 Learning Actionsp. 94
Class 9 Making Actions Doablep. 103
Class 10 Building a Vocabulary of Actionsp. 114
Class 11 Instant and Inner Justificationsp. 125
Class 12 Complicating Actionsp. 138
Class 13 Giving Actions Sizep. 148
Class 14 Understanding the Textp. 160
Class 15 Character Elementsp. 178
Class 16 Dressing the Partp. 189
Class 17 Learning a Character's Rhythmp. 199
Class 18 Actors Are Aristocratsp. 207
Class 19 Making the Costume Realp. 215
Class 20 The Actor Is a Warriorp. 226
Class 21 Stanislavski and the New Realistic Dramap. 235
Class 22 Portraying Class On Stagep. 249
Afterwordp. 262