Stella Adler on Ibsen, Strindberg, and Chekhov

Stella Adler, Author, Barry Paris, Editor Alfred A. Knopf $27.5 (352p) ISBN 978-0-679-42442-0
While this posthumous collection of lectures by one of the great acting teachers of the century will be of enormous interest to actors, it will be obvious to others that Adler's primary gift was as a vibrant performer, not as a critical writer. Her previous book, Techniques of Acting, outlining her approach to the craft, has been a standard text since its publication in 1988. Here, Paris presents Adler's thoughts on three of the most influential playwrights of the modern theater. Adler is at her best discussing the social contexts of Ibsen, Strindberg and Chekhov, exploring the cultures that made each writer who he was. She was a lively and dynamic speaker, and one can sense how exciting her presence must have been. Unfortunately, some of the excitement, and the effectiveness, is lost in the transcription. For instance, the statement ""I don't know if he went to Greece, but if he did, you can bet he spent more than two days"" sounds clunky and amateurish on the page, although it could be illustrative and amusing in a talk. Adler's forthright opinions about theater, though, are still provocative: ""all serious playwrights now fall into the category of what we call modern realism."" What would Beckett say to that? Adler has inspired generations of American actors to care deeply about the magnificent plays she discusses here; this book will allow generations to come the opportunity to benefit from a great teacher's wisdom. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-679-74698-0
Open Ebook - 225 pages - 978-0-307-78793-4
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