STELLA ADLER ON IBSEN, STRINDBERG, AND CHEKHOV Edited By Barry Paris


For the past few weeks, I’ve been watching DVDs of Ibsen plays, Strindberg plays, and Chekhov plays in order to understand Stella Adler’s analysis in Stella Adler on Ibsen, Strindberg, and Chekhov. Stella Adler had an acting career (you might have seen her in Shadow of the Thin Man (1941). She founded the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in 1949. Her students included Marlon Brando, Judy Garland, Dolores del Río, Robert De Niro, Elaine Stritch, Martin Sheen, Manu Tupou, Harvey Keitel, Melanie Griffith, Peter Bogdanovich and Warren Beatty. Stella Adler was generally considered the best acting teacher in the U.S. After reading Stella Adler on Ibsen, Strindberg, and Chekhov I have a more detailed understanding of what these playwrights were attempting in their works. Adler confesses that Chekhov is her favorite writer. But his plays are usually failures outside of Russia because international actors don’t grasp Chekhov’s story-telling technique. The actual story happens in the past or off-stage. If you’re interested in theater, I highly recommend this book. GRADE: A

6 thoughts on “STELLA ADLER ON IBSEN, STRINDBERG, AND CHEKHOV Edited By Barry Paris

  1. Patti Abbott

    I find all three of these playwrights difficult. And perhaps that is why. But I wonder what the use of that is. It becomes a play of reactions rather than actions. Stasis in other words.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Stella Adler argues that Ibsen, Strindberg, and Chekhov influenced American playwrights, Patti. To understand what 20th Century playwrights were doing, Stella says we need to understand Ibsen, Stringberg, and Chekhov. You’re right about these European playwrights being difficult. But Stella Adler clears away some of the mist.

      Reply
  2. RkR

    I’ve read some Chekov but none of the plays, unless it was The Cherry Orchard. Have seen none on stage. Read one Ibsen play. I don’t think I’m enough of a reader and watcher of these things to warrant me trying to read the book, but I appreciate your review.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Thanks, Rick. I’m sure the contemporary theater audience for Ibsen, Strindberg, and Chekhov is miniscule. But I’m trying to understand why Stella Adler believes actors and audiences need to learn about the history of these plays and playwrights.

      Reply
  3. Todd Mason

    George, have you looked recently to John Simon’s drama criticism?

    A pathetic little squib by David Sedaris attempting to mock Simon’s theater writing a few years back was indicative of what’s wrong with both Sedaris and the current version of THE NEW YORKER…

    Reply

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