Stella Adler on America's Master Playwrights
Eugene O'Neill, Thornton Wilder, Clifford Odets, William Saroyan, Tennessee Willia
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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Stella Adler was one of the most influential acting teachers of all time, a legendary force of nature whose generations of students include Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Anthony Quinn, Diana Ross, Robert De Niro, Warren Beatty, Annette Benning, and Mark Ruffalo.
This long-awaited companion to her book on the master European playwrights brings to life America’s most revered playwrights, whom she knew, loved, and worked with. Brilliantly edited by Barry Paris, Adler’s lectures on the giants of twentieth-century theater feature her indispensable insights into such classic plays as “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” “The Skin of Our Teeth,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Come Back, Little Sheba,” “The Glass Menagerie,” and “Death of a Salesman,” while shedding new light on such lesser known gems as Tennessee Williams’s “The Lady of Larkspur Lotion” and Arthur Miller’s “After the Fall.” Illuminating, revelatory, inspiring—this is Stella Adler at her electrifying best.
STELLA ADLER 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. Adler established the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting in 1949 and taught at Yale University.
BARRY PARIS is the author of biographies of Louise Brooks, Greta Garbo, and Audrey Hepburn, and the editor of Stella Adler on Ibsen, Strindberg, and Chekov and Stella Adler on America's Master Playwrights.
“An essential text . . . Adler worked to bring a greater understanding of the human condition to the American stage.” —The New Yorker
“Intoxicating . . . Paris has done a magnificent job. . . Every sentence is a treasure. . . . For actors and actresses this rich material is essential. For those interested in the American theater, it is a must. For cultured people everywhere, this book belongs in their personal canon. . . . It is about so much more than simply bringing to life the work of major artists; it is really the expression of a way of life, and of looking at art as something larger than life." —Peter Bogdanovich, The New York Times Book Review
“Adler’s voice pops into life on the pages . . . Fascinating . . . often hilarious. . . . Adler knows these plays the way a master violist knows her instrument.” —The Boston Globe
“Adler projects to the back of the house. It is indeed the voice of a giant . . . Provides invaluable insights . . . and erupts into sustained verbal fireworks as you’ve never heard elsewhere.” —The New York Times
“Passionate, opinionated, and consummately dramatic, Stella Adler’s voice and personality come through in every word . . . dense and detailed . . . filled with insight, wit, and fervor . . . a lively and fascinating look into the beliefs and methods of the late teacher, who, twenty years after her death, is still regarded as one of the greatest in the history of American theater.” —STAGE Magazine
“[The book is] about so much more than simply bringing to life the work of major artists; it is really the expression of a way of life, and of looking at art as something larger than life. . . . Stella had a marvelous way of mixing erudition with down-to-earth realities, show business know-how with a few Yiddishisms, all combined with a vivid sense of what she called a theater of ‘heightened reality’. . . . This book brings her voice back quite viscerally. It’s Stella talking, taking you on her particular roller-coaster ride through the playwrights and their characters.” —Peter Bogdanovich, The New York Times Book Review
“We usually go to scholars, dramaturgs, and critics for detailed analyses of the modern American theatre. Well, forget that! Here in this amazing book is Stella Adler in full and insightful bloom, preaching, exhorting, insulting, provoking, and always helping her many acting students. Through character study and scene breakdown within a specific play, she manages to give us a personal tour of the times and lives of the 20th Century’s most illustrious playwrights. She knew them, she knew the world they lived in, and she remembers EVERYTHING! A brilliant book.” —Andre Bishop, Lincoln Center Theater
“Stella was a first-name force of nature . . . There is considerable entertainment in the energy of her assertions . . . And then there is the staggering clarity, the piercing insight and the pure, undeniable genius of her dissection of the plays themselves.” —Washington Independent Book Review
“Paris has performed a great service by presenting Adler’s astute perspectives about these writers, whom she knew and admired. Her views are valuable not only for actors, but for anyone interested in the American theatre and its extraordinary achievements.” —Bay Area Reporter