The Stella Adler Technique
- The Actor’s Goals – rid self of outside opinions; begin with self-awareness; body, speech, mind, emotions; discipline.
- Beginning the Technique – energy, be heard, eliminate tension, physical control, speech control, muscular memory, animal movement.
- Imagination – collective consciousness, seeing imaginatively, seeing and describing.
- Circumstances – the truth of the place, living the circumstances, building the larger circumstances, mood in circumstances.
- Actions – do-able and in VERB form. Action is something you DO (to read; it has an end (reading newspaper); it is done in circumstances (in the subway); it is justified (to follow the stock market).
- Justification – 1st comes the action, then the reason for doing it. Instant, creative, in the circumstances (physicalize props), inner.
- Working on the Stage – Props, Smartening up the Action, Personalization, Planned Accidents.
- Character – Start with circumstances the playwright gives you.
- Working on the Text – Verbing, Units, Study Script, Tell the Story, Actions 1st – Words 2nd; words come out of actions.
chapter one - The actor's goals
- 1st job of actor: rid self of outside opinions.
- Make lists of assets and faults: only with true awareness of both, can you begin to learn to break out of your mid-class defensiveness.
- Cannot hold back anything; begins with self-awareness.
- Actor has only her body as an instrument; work on body, speech, mind, emotions.
- Must have a core made of steel and a will to survive.
- Entails a special strength, a new discipline.
chapter two - beginning the technique
- Energy: find the energy you need for your words; start with vocal.
- Reaching the Audience: all must hear you!
- Tension: enemy of acting; prevents truth; reduced when concentration is given to action; locate tense areas; relax.
- Physical Controls: principle - 1st you must achieve your norm and understand your body.
- Controls for Speech: understand yours; lips, accents, etc.
- Muscular Memory: sensory truth of movement; touch object & then re-create when not there.
- Animal Movement: purpose - rid actor of social mask and free from inhibitions. 15 min/day; learn to use body and voice differently.
chapter three - imagination
- 99% of what you see and use on stage comes from it.
- Collective Consciousness: tap in to all you’ve experienced.
- Seeing Imaginatively.
- Seeing and Describing.
- Facts vs. Actor’s Way: pg. 21; in your CHOICE is your talent.
chapter four - circumstances
- The Truth of the Place: before go to text, imperative to physically move around in new circum. and use them; complete absorption.
- Living the Circumstances: pg.32; don’t take self and put into.
- Hamlet; truth of character is not found in YOU, but in CIRCUMSTANCES of royal position of Hamlet. THE TRUTH IS ALWAYS THE TRUTH IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CHARACTER.
- Building the Larger Circumstances: Details!; build place for self and live in it.
- Mood in the Circumstances: Mood comes from the circum; church, bar, hospital has a mood; light or dark.
chapter five - actions
- Aim of your approach to acting is to find the actions in a scene or play; must be do-able; expressed by using verb form.
- Action is something you DO (to read); it has an end (reading newspaper); it is done in circumstances (in the subway); it is justified (to follow the stock market).
- Strong & Weak Actions: must have an objective.
- Explanation of an Action: KNOW - what you do, where you do it, when you do it, why you do it; the action does NOT include “how” which should be spontaneous and unexpected.
- Nature of an Action: it’s truth; with some actions you DO physical things or “activities”; do each and it will result in an overall.
- Overall Action (Ruling Idea): sum of all other actions (goal); 3 activities per step.
- Physicalizing: do something physical; takes the burden off the actor.
- Completing and Not Completing Actions: if can’t complete, change it to another; if can complete, do so, then go to another.
- Actions Which Do Not Use Text: they provoke you to use circumstances; pg.43-to read on veranda you must move chair, shoo bees, arrange book etc. (4 actions are good).
- Preparation and Covered Entrances: helps you start your action; keeps you from tightening up; prop keeps you truthful (take off coat when enter room).
- Pain and Death: Need “as if...” (stuck needle in eye=headache).
- Emotion: all can be found thru imagining in the circum. in the play; go to similar ACTION in own life that produces needed emotion; remember what you did, recall the place.
chapter six - justification
- 1st comes action, then reason for doing it (justification).
- What you choose for just. Should agitate you; as a result of agitation you will experience the action and the emotion. Talent consists of how well you do this.
- Instant Justification: awakens ability to experience activity; drink water to take pills; each just. Must have logic; deal only with circum. in front of you.
- More Creative Justifications: use imagination; more personal to you then more interesting and vivid to audience.
- Justification in the Circumstances: use the circum and physicalize the props if possible.
- Inner Justification: what the actor contributes to the lines of the playwright; lies behind the words; author gives lines and actor justifies.
- Answering factually: boring so Just. Turns facts into experience.
chapter seven - working on the stage
- Props: use imagination when working with props; know life of prop; understand each.
- Smartening Up the Action: can’t afford to be boring on stage; what you do on stage also needs a certain economy - can’t do all so choose parts (put on make-up - only lipstick and blush).
- Personalization: put own truth into every prop; be original (mirror is dirty); add detail; talent is how one chooses, handles and personalizes each prop; practice with them; adjust to them.
- Planned Accidents: practice so no unplanned occurs!
- Costume: action & costume go together; personalize for character; helps create inner self.
chapter eight - character
- Acting is largely based on differences between characters.
- Start with circum. that PW gives you.
- [Social Situation, Class, Playing a Profession, Background of Character (who, what, when, where, why), Character Elements, Attitude Toward Partner, Dialogue (indicate on app. pg: actions, moods, activities), Attitude, Building a Plot (character revealed thru it), Background (of family & beliefs), Levels (light comedy, medium, dark drama); only 1.]
chapter nine - vocabulary of action
chapter ten - actor's first approach to the actor
- Paraphrase play in actor’s words so they belong to you.
- Break play into sequences; units.
chapter eleven - working on the text
- Discuss it and its ideas; tell the story!
- study script, lift idea, realize the play.
chapter twelve - actor's contribution
- Lose dependency on words and go to the actions of the play.
- Actions 1st, words 2nd; words come out of the actions.
- Read the play several times.