Author of The fervent years, On directing, On directing, Lies like truth, Ibsen, Famous American plays of by Harold Clurman 8 editions - first published in On Directing [Harold Clurman] on bestthing.info *FREE* shipping on Don't have a site? Get your site here, or download a FREE site Reading App. On Directing by Harold Clurman () [Harold Clurman] on bestthing.info *FREE* Get your site here, or download a FREE site Reading App.

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First book on the acting/theatre shelf is the classic On Directing, by Harold Clurman. Lee Strasberg, Harold Clurman, Cheryl Crawford. On Directing by Harold Clurman - “A straightforward, tasteful, and articulate account of what it is to bring a play to palpitating life upon a stage” (The New. Click Link Below and Free Register to download ebook: Review In his writings as a teacher, director, and theater critic, Harold Clurman often comes across.

This was much later followed by a Middle School version of "The Hobbit" and then, in High School, I tried to act in at least two plays a year. College also found me acting many times. I have been in seven I believe acting courses, a Stagecraft course, worked on sets for at least three or four plays, and - in my recent job - been afforded the chance to co-direct Jean Anouilh's Antigone as well as work with students directing their own plays for the past few years.

I've been in the theater for a while. I have some experience on "both sides of the stage" so to speak, and, in preparation for my solo directorial debut, wanted a little extra background on directing. I found Harold Clurman's book for cheap at a bookstore and figured, "Why not?

My answer is yes, to a degree. Is this a useful book for intermediate or advanced directors that is, those who have directed before and wish to refine their techniques? My answer is again yes, to a degree.

And what degree is that? The underlying assumption of this book is that you are a director for a professional theater production. Off-Broadway or touring companies may be the lowest level that Harold Clurman's book assumes you will be working with. So, as I am directing a high school play, much of this book is impossible to employ. For the intermediate and advanced directors, they too have certain ideas on how a production should look and work.

They may be constrained by factors not present in the productions that Clurman discusses. Are there ideas present in the book that they could try out if they haven't already? I think the Director's Notes Part III of the book would work wonderful for the experienced director looking for inspiration on how to tackle a particularly "difficult" play. That section also works great as examples of what Clurman means when discussing his pre-production work.

The idea of a director's script as a blue print is not new to theater, but the detail discussed here and to varying degrees based on the play gives a handle to someone who has not been disciplined in thinking of the cohesiveness of a production. I don't believe that everyone needs to be a "Harold Clurman" and how many people actually recognize that name anymore? Hell, how many people recognize the names of the playwrights he has directed plays of anymore?

But the main reason why this book is not getting a higher rating is that it is most useful to the director planning on a professional production, and those directors should have had experience and training equal to reading this book by the time they would pick it up.

I don't have enough time in a high school production to let the actors do nothing but read the play for two weeks.

I only have 5 - 8 weeks for rehearsal and at most 5 hours per week for those rehearsals. Clurman has full day rehearsals. Of course, there were many very good acting schools and classes with an equal number of wonderful acting teachers all over New York, but there was only one Lee Strasberg.

Alas though, it was not to be. However, I did have the extremely rare privilege of working with him as a fellow actor! It was during this production that I came to know Lee, Anna, their young sons Adam and David, and we have remained close ever since. At the Institute, in the wisdom of his later years, Lee further clarified and illuminated his work, and thus it represents the distilled essence of his teaching.

Far more than a manual for acting teachers, actors, and directors, this work is a personal memoir as well, which reveals Lee Strasberg the man and his work in his own words. Your continuing commitment has made the Institute an international destination for actors who want to come into the theater. I am grateful for your confidence and trust. In large letters with gratitude and love, thanks to my husband Matthew D.

Rudikoff, who helped me organize the vast material and give it form. His encouragement, criticism, and hours of work have been the most important factor in the realization of this book.

I should like to express my gratitude and love to Stanley F. Buchthal, life-long friend, mentor, liaison, and advisor on the project. A great friend to Lee, artists and progressive ideas. I am particularly grateful to Ivana Ruzak, executive assistant to Anna Strasberg, for her support and professionalism.

To Michele Etienne for all her good work in connection with the Institute. Her sophisticated skills and tenacious efforts in arranging permissions were of great value to the project. Also, the word processing and formatting efforts of Linda Williams-Nguyen were greatly appreciated. Thank you Susan Brown, PhD and James Joyce scholar, my brilliant and talented editorial consultant, who did such a fine job in helping me prepare the manuscript.

Much love and a very special thanks to my family who assisted me in countless ways and who were patient with me during my intense periods of work, my children Cody and Lily Brown and step children John and Nicholas Rudikoff, my parents Rose and Jack Cohen, my brother Fred Cohen and his wife, Jan.

Although he worked as a director and an actor, Lee Strasberg was first and foremost a teacher. Fascinated by the creative process and the nature of expression, and driven by his unquenchable passion for excellence in acting, Lee continued to refine and expand his work during fifty years of teaching. At the famed Actors Studio his approach to acting matured, his theories of artistic expression evolved and Lee Strasberg emerged as the teacher of the Method.

At the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute founded in , Lee further refined the exercises and acting practices at the heart of his work with increasingly rigorous attention to relaxation and evolving clarity about emotional memory. For students of the theater, The Lee Strasberg Notes represents the final stages in the development of this controversial approach described in the book Strasberg at the Actors Studio edited by Robert H.

As he often commented, theater performances are less permanently preserved than the other arts such as painting, music, or cinema. I also realized that, because the transcriptions represent application — not the polished explanations presented by him in a lecture or in his books — they have an appeal beyond use at the Institute. Passionate, articulate, and embodying an encyclopedic knowledge of theater, Lee Strasberg strove to raise the standards of the craft for actors, and, with these direct transcriptions of his actual classes, actors throughout the world and in future generations can also experience and confront actual demonstrations of his work.

In editing, compiling and organizing the material in the book, I was guided by three principles. As the videotapes illustrate, his students learned by practicing the exercises and performing scenes. Therefore, I have sought to retain his conversational and free associative style and the rapidity of points made in his commentary to his students.

My goal was to maintain the dramatic quality, clarity, emotion, assuredness, and, as much as possible, the formidable flavor of the Lee Strasberg voice.

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In his classes, Lee questioned students, critiqued their work, and encouraged them to explore and go further than they believed themselves capable. Lee would then expand these comments to all of the students present in the class, emphasizing the universality of the problems. His expectation of seriousness, discipline and passion in the students was manifest in his energetic urgings, praise, and exhortations in which he used humor, wit, and sometimes biting commentary.

Some students took his comments personally, although that was not his intent. Throughout his teaching process — guiding the exercises, the work on the self, and the work on character and scene in service of a play — logical, truthful, and believable dramatic behavior was made possible on stage, and it further enabled actors to achieve those values and results in performance after performance.

Thus references to the performances of these early figures, including Edmund Kean, Tommaso Salvini, and Eleanora Duse, appear in his commentaries. Acting students, usually totally unaware of these early actors, were encouraged by him to pursue researching them to broaden and deepen their understanding of the craft of acting and the development of his work. Occasionally referred to by Lee in the transcriptions is the designer and aesthetician Edward Gordon Craig and his book, On the Art of the Theater.

The editing necessitated selecting and placing together the phrases that would most effectively make his point and preserve his manner of speech. Further compounding these difficulties is that some of what he says may not make sense because he often used physical gestures and facial expressions to make a point. When necessary, I have clarified and accounted for this factor. It was here he met his first wife, Nora Kreacun, who was also a member.

They met in , married in , and she died in He began to dream of a life in the theater, while also devouring and collecting books and listening to classical music and opera, passions that lasted throughout his lifetime. Lee first enrolled in the Clare Tree Major School of the Theater, a conventional acting school, where in addition to acting classes he studied ballet, voice, and Shakespeare.

He became dissatisfied with the school, however, and joined the American Laboratory Theater in Greenwich Village, founded by Richard Boleslavsky, whom he had seen perform, and Maria Ouspenskaya, both of whom remained in New York to teach after the Moscow Art Theater ended its run.

The two actors had worked closely with Stanislavski and his pupil Eugene Vakhtangov. It was here that Lee Strasberg learned the Stanislavski System, which was to become the guiding force in the development of his work.

As Lee Strasberg wholeheartedly carried on the work of Stanislavski, Vakhtangov, and Meyerhold, he began applying and testing their techniques and theatrical styles on productions he directed at Students of Art and Drama.

It was at this time that he met Harold Clurman, who was a play reader at the Guild, and Cheryl Crawford. In , in the midst of the Great Depression, Lee Strasberg, along with Clurman and Crawford co-founded the Group Theater, an ensemble of actors, writers, and directors who through a progressive political perspective created an original American theater utilizing and developing the acting techniques of Stanislavski. For seven years, Lee worked with actors, experimented with style, and directed original plays, many of which mirrored the social and political controversies of the Depression Era.

Lee left the Group Theater in , and the next ten years — before the start of the Actors Studio — were challenging. He was teaching at the American Theater Wing and the New School, conducting private classes, directing in New York, working in Hollywood, and supporting a young family. He moved to Los Angeles with his wife, Paula Miller Strasberg — , a Group Theater actress, and their children, Susan — and John, and there he directed screen tests at Twentieth Century Fox for Daryl Zanuck and made short films about soldiers coming back from the war.

Some of the soldiers attended his acting classes.

There, he absorbed everything he could about film making such as camera angles, cutting, and lighting. At the Actors Studio, Lee Strasberg participated in the launching of a generation of post World War II actors whose impact on the craft of acting in the fifties changed the face of American theater and film. He was also influential in European theater.

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Beginning in the s, Lee Strasberg also maintained an acting career in film. He went on to highly regarded characterizations in which he applied and tested his work in The Cassandra Crossing in , …And Justice for All, Boardwalk, and Going in Style all in , and he appeared in two made for TV movies, The Last Tenant in and Skokie in The organization of the book recreates the four-hour sequence of an acting class that is preserved today at the Institute: Part 1 Training and exercises , Part 2 Characters and scenes and Part 3 Scene critiques.

Part 4 Directing and the Method offers material never publicly presented before which provides directors and directing students with insights about the relationship of the Method to directing and dealing with actors.

Part 6 contains fascinating references and vignettes about aspects of acting and individual figures in the theater, film, and art world that Lee used to illustrate points about acting, directing, or some other aspect of the theater. The exercises include relaxation, sense memory, emotional memory, the private moment, the animal exercise, song and dance, and voice exercises.

He talks to the students about eliminating tension, the role of habits that confine expression, and how to relax in the chair. Lee Strasberg on training The human being has an extraordinary capacity and can be trained.

While the other arts use different materials for expression like words, notes, paint, and train the voice, the speech, and the body, the actor himself is the instrument of expression which calls for special care like a rare Stradivarius.

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Our training nurtures creativity, which is the highest material that can be used for art. What makes for greatness in the actor? Greatness needs that extra effort, which is commitment. When Babe Ruth swung, he pointed to where he wanted the ball to go, and it went to that spot. He had that sense of commitment and courage, of not being afraid to be wrong. Actors also need a strong will to connect.

That can only be done with continuity, commitment, and courage. The violinist has to continue practicing after becoming a major violinist.

If he stops practicing, he loses his skill. This applies to the other arts as well.

Harold Clurman

When a writer writes a novel and then begins to take it easy, the seeds of his creation dry up. Pablo Casals, the cellist and great instrumentalist of all time, kept practicing until his last year at People asked him why he still practiced.

Actors must make a commitment to train daily and to work on their craft throughout their careers. Most actors forget to do the training work and remember only the scene work. Some become stars before they achieve technical maturity. They assume that the training work has already been done and will always be there by itself, but when actors stop working on their craft, they imitate what already has been done, and, after three months, they become stale.

To heighten yourself as an actor, you also need to know as much as possible about the theater and its history. Learn what came before you. Study the great critics like Stark Young and H. The script is only an outline, so read novels for insights into the inner life of characters. Pick new, fresh material, not what other people do, and look for parts where you can steal the scene.

Even though in the theater you may work with people with no or little experience, you must be able to maintain a standard of excellence for yourself.

Training in a group gives you an opportunity to practice this. Training, of course, is not a substitute for talent. The talent of the actor lies in their degree of sensitivity. For a human being, too much sensitivity is very difficult to live with. For an actor, there is no such thing as too much sensitivity. The deeper the sensitivity, the greater the possibility for expression.

The ability to use your talent also depends on the degree to which you learn the technical procedures which our training emphasizes. Through our procedures, we gain control over our muscles, we learn to have control over our minds, and then the actor can start or stop their emotions at will without revealing the difficulties in doing this.

The more perfect the technique, the more we like it. Someone starting off may have more talent than someone who has been at the Institute for years, but without training, talent will not grow.

We give you the process and the skills to use your talent, but you have to actually do it. Nothing can move you unless you move yourself. You must commit to training every day throughout your career.

You relax in order to show that you have control of yourself. Then you concentrate to have control of the imaginary objects you wish to create. Other approaches to acting are immediately concerned with the scenes and their interpretation. Our preparation is contrary. To truthfully convey the ideas that the scene demands, we need the ability to relax at will and to apply inner concentration and awareness.

The purpose of the relaxation exercise is to eliminate fear, tension, and unnecessary energy, and to awaken every area of the body.

Problems of expression arise from inhibited muscles and tension. I want to put the actor in an artistic prison. The idea that expression is freedom is wrong. Expression means that you have something that you want to express in a way that is clear and true. You must become aware of yourself and your body, like the double awareness of the writer who corrects his own punctuation.

As part of the training and general daily routine for their work, students should practice the relaxation and sense memory exercises fifteen minutes in the morning and fifteen minutes at night. If you become frightened, stop immediately and go back to the relaxation exercise.

On Directing

The basic habitual behavior of human beings leads to the habitual behavior of the actor. Removing habits and involuntary nervous behavior is a new phase in the evolution of our work, which allows for a greater degree of development and control over your own instrument and helps actors to use, shape and apply what they possess. Little by little the child learns to control himself.

The human being is initially expressive and then conditioning over the years runs counter to that expressiveness. Habit takes over. These strongly ingrained habits result in our unconscious habitual behavior. With some people the head is always up in the air, like a searchlight.

Swaying is the most habitual movement. For acting, you must go further than the habits permit. To deal with this problem, we have developed something which I believe is new.

Relaxation and sense memory exercises deal with areas of the acting process and of the acting instrument which previously had evaded observation or had been treated purely externally.

A twenty-year habit may take as long as a year to break, but we believe everything that was conditioned can be reconditioned. While other training may not hurt you, if it sets habits of behavior, it might. In our work, we want the body to become responsive so that the intensity of the experience the actor is creating — not habit — can emerge.

To allow human behavior and habits to change, we need an accumulative degree of relaxation.

You must show that you can follow your own commands and develop freedom from habit. In the same way they must fit into any environment on the stage, actors must adjust to the chair.

Find a position in the chair that gives you a certain degree of comfort, a position in which you could, if you had to, go to sleep. Let the chair hold you up. You get the head back and you relax. Breathe properly and easily or the muscles will get stuck.

The human will is the strongest thing we know. Remain in control of your energy and your efforts. The actor should be aware of every muscle in the body, so start to check each area separately by moving one specific part at a time. Define the area of tension, make a connection with the brain, and move it, then let it go. A tightness in the muscles means they are frozen into certain attitudes.

Movement is the effort on the part of the mind to contact the area we wish to stimulate, relax, and ultimately control. The purpose of the movement is to draw your attention to muscles that are tense to make sure they respond. Go inch by inch. Permit the brain to become aware of what muscles and nerves are involved when you make the movement. Be very definite and precise, not general. What are the fingers doing?

If the fingers are buckling up it means that a charge of sensation is locked into them and the flow of sensation is held back. By moving the fingers you create a degree of circulation. Parallel is habitual. Move your arms and legs wide enough to check each muscle, continuing to move slowly. When the foot falls asleep and you start to move, it tingles. You must let go and keep moving so the muscles will relax and permit the impulses to find their way. Being very ticklish suggests locked-up sensitivity.

If you have an injury, avoid working on that area and inform the teacher. Releasing tension Because tension stops the instrument from responding, we must, through relaxation, release the mental and physical tension which is the occupational disease of the actor. To release it, there are four central areas of the head to relax: 1 2 3 4 The sides of the temples where the blue nerves go into the cranium.

These nerves are working all the time and build up an unnecessary degree of energy. Send a message to the brain and tell that area to relax. The bridge of the nose leading into the eyes. Let these muscles of the face relax. Move the cheek muscles. Watch the brow. The eyebrows get very tense. Let the energy from the eyelids go. Unfurl the face. Tell those areas to relax and let the energy ooze out.

The thick muscles that go into the mouth and chin, including the tongue. This is the most trained area in the human body, connecting mental energy into speech. With a tight jaw the verbal pattern will be very strong but tense. An enormous amount of energy builds up here. This area deals with the problems of speech. Stretch out these muscles and move them in non-habitual ways. Move the head around slowly within the circumference of the neck band in order to locate the muscles that are holding it steady and tense.

As you rotate it around, try to feel the different muscles, and relax and loosen them, particularly when they are extended all the way back.

Let the head go and float away. Relax the throat. All those areas get clogged up. The neck muscles and nerves are like the strings of a marionette that are connected to the head. They hold on to the various parts of the body and keep it in check.

The strings must be loose enough to permit the marionette to move freely. It is the same with the human being. A cool head means relaxed and aware. Physical tension is much easier to eliminate than mental tension. An additional important area of tension is the muscles that run down the back. The Reichian School made us aware that the back muscles retain emotionally traumatic experiences locked up from childhood. When those muscles move and let go, your experiences will come through, but you must be sufficiently relaxed to release those emotions.

Emotions can be lodged in your body like bones. Psychologists and psychiatrists tell us that an emotional trauma can get tied up in the muscles, and until you release those muscles you cannot release the emotion. When I began touching and checking the back muscles recently during the relaxation, people laughed and cried. I realized that I could help that process by forcing the actor at that moment to immediately relax. When you relax and become able to deal with these muscles, habits begin to change.

When checking the students during relaxation, I sometimes pick up the arm and it may go up or pull back. Instead of relaxing, the brain suddenly starts to pull the arms in, becoming oppositional. In the effort to relax, the energy goes the wrong way.

Experiencing locked sensations is nothing to be frightened of or worried about. Tension is too much or too little energy, not fear. On the contrary, you have a whole reservoir of response there. What happens? Eventually you run out of gas. The energy is being misused. It does the exact opposite. Habitual patterns may begin to form. To break the oppositional stance and release tension, the actor must control the muscles that pull in.

Use of sound We use sound to access basic areas of expression. The sound is made for the definite purpose of moving beyond habit.The additional movement procedure is designed to unsettle the habits so the muscles become free to obey the actor, rather than the habits.

They wondered if others felt the same way. The body is a mass of impulses, 90 percent or more of which are unconscious. What makes for greatness in the actor? For a human being, too much sensitivity is very difficult to live with. We're simply in a much more media-aware age than whenever this book came out. Even though in the theater you may work with people with no or little experience, you must be able to maintain a standard of excellence for yourself.

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