An author is supposed to market her book a year after its release. I haven’t been as diligent as most, but after spending over a decade of my life with Stella, I have moved on. I’m an artist, after all and although Stella would say one should play Hamlet or Medea over a lifetime to really nail the role, I have other roles to play as a writer, mother, and wife. Still, it dawned on me as I was perusing this blog that I hadn’t linked all the amazing videos on my Stella Adler YouTube channel. These include riveting teaching lectures (like the one below), others talking about Stella, and the PBS documentary on her life — all of which you can find here.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ll never be through with Stella. She’s a part of me now. But I’m concentrating on a memoir to help heal a chronic illness I grapple with on a daily basis. I take my lead from Stella who lived her life through art, both the suffering and the joy.
If you have read Stella!, it would be a wonderful “thank you” to me to write a brief review on the book’s Amazon page. Only 24 people have reviewed it to date, and I need all the 5 STAR reviews I can get.(If you don’t want to give it 5 Stars, I’d rather you not post a review as it will lower the book’s ranking.) So, if you have a few minutes and a few words about the book, please leave them at the book’s Amazon page here.
While writing Stella Adler’s biography, I interviewed Holland Taylor, but I didn’t videotape our conversation. Thankfully, we have this five minute video, in which Taylor crystallizes Stella’s teachings as accurately as any student of Stella’s I’ve heard. Disciples truly do carry on the work.
Actors illuminate the human condition — for themselves and others — by studying character (discussed in depth here: Actors: Our Modern Day Philosophers.) Stella Adler used many fields of study to inform character development, demonstrating how limitless an actor’s choices are. There’s no surprise that she would also utilize psychology.
Stella stresses that an actor must research and imagine the background of his character, which may include his social status, profession, geographic location, era, and also the character’s upbringing. Even if the playwright does not specifically write about it, an actor can build a character by creating a background in which, for example, his world view is determined by his early relationships with his parents.
In the clip below, Stella has just watched two actors play a scene from Robert Anderson’s I Never Sang for My Father, which prompts her to lecture on the nature of a character who is so self-reliant, he is “diseased,” unable to be a “whole man” because he doesn’t know how to love. Why? That’s up to the actor to decide and why Stella’s most oft quoted dictum is “Talent is in your choice.”
Click here to “like” Stella’s Facebook page for her forthcoming biography.