Elia Kazan was the twentieth century’s most celebrated director of both stage and screen, and this monumental, revelatory book shows us the master at work. Kazan’s list of Broadway and Hollywood successes— A Streetcar Named Desire, Death of a Salesman, On the Waterfront , to name a few—is a testament to his profound impact on the art of directing. This remarkable book, drawn from his notebooks, letters, interviews, and autobiography, reveals Kazan’s method: how he uncovered the “spine,” or core, of each script; how he analyzed each piece in terms of his own experience; and how he determined the specifics of his production. And in the final section, “The Pleasures of Directing”—written during Kazan’s final years—he becomes a wise old pro offering advice and insight for budding artists, writers, actors, and directors.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Kazan on Directing|
|Release Date: 04-21-2009|
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|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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Kazan on Directing
by Tennessee Williams
FROM THE NOTEBOOK
A thought: Directing finally consists of turning Psychology into Behavior.
Theme: This is a message from the dark interior. This little twisted, pathetic, confused bit of light and culture puts out a cry. It is snuffed out by the crude forces of violence, insensibility, and vulgarity that existin our South — and this is the cry of the play.
Style: One reason a “ style,” a stylized production, is necessary is that Blanche’s memories, inner life, emotions are a tangible, actual factor.We cannot understand her behavior unless we see the effect of her past on her present behavior.
This play is a poetic tragedy. We are shown the final dissolution of a person of worth, who once had great potential, and who, even as she is defeated, as she is destroyed, has a worth exceeding that of the “healthy,” coarse-grained figures who kill her.
Blanche and Don Quixote are both emblems of the death of an old culture. This is a poetic tragedy, not a realistic, naturalistic one. The acting must be styled, not in the obvious sense. (Say nothing about this to the producer and actors.) But you will fail unless you find this kind of poetic realization for these people’s behavior.
Blanche is a social type, an emblem of a dying civilization, making its last curlicued and romantic exit. All her behavior patterns are those of the dying civilization she represents. In other words, her behavior is social. Therefore find social modes! This is the source of the play’s stylization and the production’s style and color. Likewise, Stanley’s behavior is so...