Yes we are quoting Marlon.
We would be not quoting The Big Bad Brando is we reminded you that Stella! Mother of Modern Acting (Applause Books, $29.99) is a new book all about the woman who revolutionized modern day acting. In fact, Arthur Miller decided to become a playwright after seeing Stella perform with the Group Theater. Brando attributed his acting to her genius as a teacher. Theater critic Robert Brustein called her the greatest acting teacher in America. (That we and others debate).
At the turn of the 20th century, Adler became a child star of the Yiddish stage in New York, where she was being groomed to refine acting craft and, eventually, help pioneer its modern gold standard: method acting. Adler's emphasis on experiencing a role through the actions in the given circumstances of the work directs actors toward a deep sociological understanding of the imagined characters–their social class, geographic upbringing, and biography–which increases the actor's creative choices.
Always “onstage,” Adler's flamboyant personality disguised a deep sense of not belonging. Her unrealized dream of becoming a movie star chafed against an unflagging commitment to the transformative power of art. From her Depression-era plays with the Group Theatre to freedom fighting during WWII, Stella used her notoriety as a tool for change.
For Stella! Mother of Modern Acting, Ochoa worked alongside Irene Gilbert, Stella's friend of 30 years, who provided her with a trove of Adler's personal and pedagogical materials, and Ochoa interviewed Adler's entire living family, including her daughter Ellen; her colleagues and friends, from Arthur Miller to Karl Malden; and her students from Robert De Niro to Mark Ruffalo.
Unearthing countless unpublished letters and interviews, private audio recordings, Stella's extensive FBI file, class videos and private audio recordings,Stella! Mother of Modern Acting introduces one of the most under-recognized, yet most influential luminaries of the 20th century.