Stella Adler on America's Master Playwrights by Stella Adler
Eugene O'Neill, Clifford Odets, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Edward Albee, et al.

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews

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.”
-NY Times

Synopsis

In her long-awaited book, the legendary acting teacher Stella Adler gives us her extraordinary insights into the work of Henrik Ibsen (“The creation of the modern theater took a genius like Ibsen . . . Miller and Odets, Inge and O’Neill, Williams and Shaw, swallowed the whole of him”), August Strindberg (“He understood and predicted the forces that would break in our lives”), and Anton Chekhov (“Chekhov doesn’t want a play, he wants what happened in life. In life, people don’t usually kill each other. They talk”).

Through the plays of these masters, Adler discusses the arts of playwriting and script interpretation (“There are two aspects of the theater. One belongs to the author and the other to the actor. The actor thinks it all belongs to the author . . . The curtain goes up and all he knows are the lines . . . It is not enough . . . Script interpretation is your profession”).

She looks into aspects of society and class, and into our cultural past, as well as the evolution of the modern spirit (“The actor learns from Ibsen what is modern in the modern theater. There are no villains, no heroes. Ibsen understands, more than anything, there is more than one truth”).

Stella Adler—daughter of Jacob Adler, who was universally acknowledged to be the greatest actor of the Yiddish theater, and herself a disciple of Stanislavsky—examines the role of the actor and brings to life the plays from which all modern theater derives: Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, The Master Builder, An Enemy of the People, and A Doll’s House; Strindberg’s Miss Julie and The Father; Chekhov’s The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, The Cherry Orchard, and Three Sisters (“Masha is the sister who is the mystery. You cannot reach her. You cannot reach the artist. There is no logical way. Keep her in a special pocket of feelings that are complex and different”).

Adler discusses the ideas behind these plays and explores the world of the playwrights and the history—both familial and cultural—that informed their work. She illumines not only the dramatic essence of each play but its subtext as well, continually asking questions that deepen one’s understanding of the work and of the human spirit.

Adler’s book, brilliantly edited by Barry Paris, puts her famous lectures into print for the first time.
 

About Stella Adler

See more books from this Author
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 and Greta Garbo.
 
Published August 14, 2012 by Vintage. 402 pages
Genres: History, Arts & Photography, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Stella Adler on America's Master Playwrights
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Peter Bogdanovich on Nov 30 2012

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.”

Read Full Review of Stella Adler on America's Mas... | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Ben Brantley on Aug 30 2012

Your ears will start to ring after reading only a few sentences. Even on the page, Adler...projects to the back of the house. It is indeed the voice of a giant.

Read Full Review of Stella Adler on America's Mas... | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Vinton Rafe McCabe on Aug 14 2012

Although the lectures contained herein were given when Carter and Reagan were in the White House, the information in Stella Adler on America’s Master Playwrights today seems completely on target and remarkably fresh...

Read Full Review of Stella Adler on America's Mas... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Reader Rating for Stella Adler on America's Master Playwrights
90%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 31 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×