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(Eyes rise on GABE pacing his living room. He peers at his laptop mumbling about the state of Goodreads. ENTER BUHMANN, Gabe’s roommate.)Gabe: I’m going to review the shit out of the Group Theater. It’s perfect Gabe material.Buhmann: It’s about time. Are you going to talk about painters?Gabe: I do like bringing up painters don’t I. It’s a way of getting a return on all that fine art knowledge that so far hasn’t done much to edify my character. Buhmann: Is it true that in order to join the group
This is a must-read for any student of theatre. It details the roots of our current acting traditions in america.The first hundred pages is very challenging. In effort to provide a complete history of the Group, the details become dense and the writing a bit clunky. In fairness, as the references and names become more familiar, the book becomes more digestible. It is fascinating both because of (and in spite of) the "play by play" style that Clurman employs. I am left imagining Clurman as a man
Harold is a talker. I understand why the Group members got frustrated with him.
The Fervent Years deals with the creation of The Group Theatre, one of the founding performing companies in American Theatre.This book, written in 1944, describes the building blocks, the rise and the fall, and eventual demise of this organization of actors, directors, playwrights, producers and others responsible for a major infusion of talent and ideas in this theatrical endeavor. The author, Harold Clurman, along with Lee Strasberg and Cheryl Crawford formed the company in the late 1920's, w
“Fervent Years,” is a very grim look at Harold Clurman’s attempts at catapulting Group Theater to the most criticaly acclaimed institution. He wanted create a place for artists to be be able put up thought-provoking plays regardless of its profitability. It is interesting to see the ease of having to been able to travel to the Soviet Union, Paris and London, by Harold, a semi-impoverished director. Reading this book, I could feel communist ideology permeating throughout 1930s. I can see why acto...
The Fervent Years, Harold Clurman's memoir of how the Group Theatre came together, achieved success, and then disbanded, is a fascinating theatrical artifact. Clurman, along with luminaries Lee Strasberg, Cheryl Crawford, and Stella Adler, formed the Group Theatre to explore a new method of acting and to produce modern American plays that supported that method. What's remarkable about this book is how Clurman manages to simultaneously sideline his primary collaborators while divesting himself of...
Stumbled on this one at an antiquarian's years and years ago and picked it up. Had I not read among others Mel Gordon's book on the Stanislavski technique and had hung around the Cinemateque watching Kazan's and Brando's collaboration, I might as well had put it back in the shelves. Now I didn't. This is the story of how modern acting came to be. If you are looking at this you most assuredly know Stanislavski and the crazy, transcending work at the MAT ( Moscow Art Theatre). The people working i...
Man o man. This one took me awhile. I did find it inspiring and uplifting at times and hopelessly dry at others. It's, quite literally, a play by play of The Group Theatre from beginning to end. It's interesting that the struggles Clurman was facing are the same ones we face today - the commercialism, a small and narrow audience pool, the lack of good theater - people willing to actually change something and take society into account when choosing and developing work. He fights over and over to
Harold Clurman's memoir of the Group Theatre is enlightening and inspiring. It's also a bit dry. As far as showing me what a little fervency and passion can accomplish Clurman gets a gold star. However, their endless self-criticism and refusal to accept any script/production/praise as good seem to me to be a large part of their inability to continue. I believe I understand why the Group Theatre is a fundamentally huge building block of modern American theatre, but I think that we can learn as mu...
The Fervent Years is a classic that should be familiar to all students of theatre; I was fortunate to encounter it way back in the '60s, when I was in high school. It remains one of the most pleasurable and inspiring reads of any mid-20th century memoir as well as being an essential account of one of American theatre's most fecund periods. The perspective is that of only one member of the Group Theatre, albeit a seminal one, but the writing is masterful and the insight unparalleled. I'm delighte...
What theater geek couldn't love Clurman's stories of Stella Adler's tantrums, Lee Strasburg's obsession with real emotion, or Clifford Odets' rise and fall? Even better is his account of the Group Theater's struggels as a mission driven producing organization. Non-profit American theater owes its heart to The Group and it was really fun to see how it all began. That said, Clurman does go off on some fairly legnthy theoretical diatribes. But then again, that's what visionaries are supposed to hav...
This is an in-depth study, written by one of its founders, of The Group Theatre, a collective of playwrights, actors & directors active throughout the 1930s, largely on Broadway stages. It will clearly have a niche readership but, as a performing arts practitioner, I was fascinated by the philosophy behind, & struggles of, this extraordinary company. Except for Clurman become somewhat sanctimonious during the final few chapters I was enthralled by this slice of history. We will certainly never s...
... Fantastic book about the evolution, triumph and dissolution of The Group Theater by its architect, the late Harold Clurman. His prose is a bit thick at times, but his razor-sharp observations about the Group's work, his colleagues, and his own mistakes is raw and right on. The Group was a fairly short-lived experiment, but it was also the Big Bang of 20th Century theater, and its effects are still being felt.
Like most of the other reviews I've seen, I really enjoyed parts of the book and found a large percentage of it extremely dry. Most of it concerns the budgetary concerns, inability to raise funding, and the poverty in which the members of The Group lived.
This is a must read for anyone in the theatre. It made me question what my purpose was in pursuing a career as an actress and what I am contributing to the world and the art by going after my dream. I wish I was as clear about my passion as Harold Clurman.
An interesting look not only at American theatre history but the whole of a creative enterprise. We can see how common acting theories took root in AMERICA and changed the art form.Recommend for anyone interested in theatre, art, or history.
a little self-congratulatory, a little long-winded but digestible. it's a comfort to know that theater is just as impossible now as it was in the 30s.
A bit repetitive, but an interesting look at how American theater changed into what it is today.
A must read for young theatre artists starting out and wanting to do something different and brave.
For anyone that loves theater history, this is a must read. I absolutely loved it. I would not hesitate to read it again down the line. I recommend it highly.
This book is incredible. It's a great historical account of the Group Theatre, and I found Clurman's "fervency," as it were, invading my brain and fueling my desire to keep reading like a maniac.
Important for every actor to read and learn the history. It can get long at times, but has some segments I couldn't put it down!