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“You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self.”
– Richard Bach

“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”
– Wilma Rudolph

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”
– William Faulkner

“Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.”
– Ernest Hemingway

“My favorite piece of music is the one we hear all the time if we are quiet.”
– John Cage

Ronald Rand in Let It Be Art


Essays

Ingredients Of A Creative Life: Sketches Summer 2017

The Method Acting Exercises Handbook

The Laboratory Instinct

All People Are Famous: Instead of an Autobiography

“CREATE! How Extraordinary People Live to Create and Create to Live”

Films That Make a Difference

Witness to Spirit: My Life with Cowboys, Mozart & Indians

My Life and Art

A Healing Art: How Eurythmy Lives in the World

Dramatic Circumstances: On Acting, Singing, and Living Inside the Stories We Tell: Teaching Through the Lens of Neuroscience

Chasing Light: Notes on Creativity

Changing Ourselves to Change Society

An Excerpt from DAH Theatre: A Sourcebook

I Can Resist Everything Except Тheater: the Work and Role of The Macedonian Centre — International Theatre Institute

Real Life Drama

Hirschfeld on line

All People Are Famous: Instead of an Autobiography

Harold ClurmanHarold Clurman by Al Hirschfeld Reproduced by special arrangement with Hirschfeld's exclusive representative, The Margo Feiden Galleries, NY.

Getting to know people, whoever they may be, is what’s important: life, after all, is just one person or another. This may be an odd statement for me to make in a book where so many famous people have appeared. But then what is fame?

~~~~~~~~

Copland sat in a café in the Paris of 1938 with Sandy Meisner, who had come over for a weekend from London, where he was acting as Kazan’s understudy in Golden Boy. Someone who had known Copland happened along, greeted him, and sat down at the table. Soon Meisner left for an appointment, and the man who had joined Copland asked asked, “Who was that fellow?”

“Sanford Meisner,” Copland said.
“Never heard of him. “What’s he do?”
“He’s an actor,” Copland replied.
“Never heard of him,” the man repeated.
Copland added, hopefully, “He’s a member of the Group Theatre company.”
“Never heard of it.”
“Well,” said Copland, “you must have heard of Clifford Odets.”
“Odets, sure!” the man exploded with delight.  “He was the junior counselor at our boy’s camp.”

~~~~~~~~

John Barrymore as Hamlet

In all my years of play-going I have never seen an American actor more richly endowed than John Barrymore. Yet, like a number of other greatly gifted actors, Barrymore was contemptuous of the stage. He wanted desperately to be a painter, but he had come to realize he would never be a good one.  Whether it was this or deeper psychological causes that were at the root of his self-destructive bent I cannot say but still there was always an air of grandeur about him.

When I was given the opportunity to sit beside him at lunch in the Paramount dining room, I was all fascinated attention.  Rapt in grim meditation, he said little. His answers to the casual questions were short and rather sullen.

When the waitress serving him asked him what he would like.

He noticed that I smiled at his answer. 

“What’re you smiling at?” he barked.

“I observe,” I answered, “that you have one tone of voice when you speak to a man and quite another when you speak to a woman.”

“Nat-u-rally,” he said, elongating the word in heroic sonority.
I kept staring at him, and in mock irritation, he snarled, “What’re you gaping at?”

Calmly, I replied, “Mr. Barrymore, you always look as if you are about to come forth with a devastating curse or an earth-shattering laugh.”

“Some look eh!” he muttered, his eyes flashing, and turned back to his meal.

~~~~~~~~

“While serving as a play-reader for the Theatre Guild (which was during the years of 1929 to 1931), I wrote letters to various novelists and poets asking if they had written or were planning to write a play.  Hemingway answered: “You ask me if I’ve written a play. Who the hell hasn’t?”  Hemingway’s play, “The Fifth Column,” was produced several years later by The Theatre Guild and directed by Lee Strasberg.

My happiest experience in reading plays occurred during the Group Theatre days.  A script had been submitted which began: “Act One: Ten thousand years before the creation of man.  Act Two:  Two weeks later.”

~~~~~~~~

“All People are Famous” by Harold Clurman

Though a theatre man by profession, fascinated from early boyhood by all manner of spectacle, I didn’t choose to make a career of the theatre till I was twenty-three. Before that, and ever after it was not just the theatre but all the arts that attracted me.  Aaron Copland, who has played an important role in my life, said to me when we were young, “Art is your religion.” 

I was troubled by the statement at the time, because I realized it contained an element of truth, but today I could go as far as to deny it.

Art for me is the bearer of an essence far more profound even than religion.  Brecht called this essence “the art of life,” but even that is inadequate. Perhaps it would be best not to name it all.  Names are prone to vulgarization, to obsolescence. Think of what has happened to “God,” to “law and order.”

But whatever that essence may be  — and it is surely a holy spirit — I seek it in some of the people around me, that is, in their actions. •

And the artist’s most worthy action is usually his creation. 1974. Excerpts from All People Are Famous: Instead of an Autobiography by Harold Clurman .

Harold Clurman by Al Hirschfeld Reproduced by special arrangement with Hirschfeld's exclusive representative, The Margo Feiden Galleries, NY.

HAROLD CLURMAN - A dynamic force as Producer, Director, Drama Critic, he founded the famed Group Theatre in 1931 with Lee Strasberg and Cheryl Crawford. Mr. Clurman directed the original productions of Awake & Sing, The Member Of The Wedding, Bus Stop, A Touch of the Poet, and Incident At Vichy among others. His classic account of the Group Theatre, The Fervent Years is a must read for all theatre lovers, as well as his On Directing, Ibsen, and All People Are Famous. A recipient of the George Jean Nathan Award, he was known as the “elder statesman of the American Theatre.”


 


"It is a law of life that man cannot live for himself alone. Extreme individualism is insanity. The world's problems are also our personal problems. Health is achieved through maintaining our personal truth in a balanced relation of love to the rest of the world. No expression is more emblematic of this relation than the creative act which we call art. No art by its very constitution typifies the social nature of that creative act more than the theatre. The theatre, to be fully understood and appreciated, must be seen as a manifestation of this process of interchange between society and the individual. It must be judged as a continuous development of groups of individuals within society, a development which becomes richer, acquires greater force and value as it grows with the society in which it originates. Only in this way can the theatre nourish us.  - Harold Clurman

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