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THEATREGOERS' SCRAPBOOK

CATCHING KAZAN
by Joan Alleman Rubin

[[image - photo of Elia Kazan]]

On December 6, Actors Studio, probably the world's most famous theatre workshop for professional actors, celebrated its 25th anniversary. It seemed a fitting occasion for the Studio and its artistic director Lee Strasberg to honor one of the founders Elia Kazan for his monumental contribution to the American stage and screen. Below a few highlights of Kazan's several careers - actor, director, novelist - and some quotes on how he's felt about them.

[[image - photo captioned "1935 - Kazan with Frances Farmer in Clifford Odets' GOLDEN BOY"]]

"I came to New York, a young guy who wanted to get into the theatre. At that time the profession of acting had no dignity unless you were a star. In 1947 we started Actor's Studio in order to change that. The philosophy of the Studio was and is that acting is more than just a question of talent. Acting is a craft. Part of it can be learned, all of it improved."

[[image - photo captioned "1948 - Kazan (left) celebrating the first anniversary of STREETCAR with the cast and playwright"; l-r: Elia Kazan, Jessica Tandy, Tennessee Williams, Ann Dere??, Karl Malden, Kim Hunter]]

"I've found everything in my life satisfying, particularly my work in the theatre. I was lucky, priviledged really, to work with playwrights like Williams, Miller, Anderson and with actors like Brando.... I've never really left the theatre. I would like to direct a play again."

[[image - photographed captioned "1954 - Kazan directing James Dean in EAST OF EDEN"]]

"Film is a fantastic medium - a medium that has made the realistic theatre passé. Theatre must now get on with what it was invented to do - address itself to the mythic, the poetic, the symbolic. In that arena television and movies can't touch a live performance."

1973 - Kazan, author of three novels, AMERICA, AMERICA; THE ARRANGEMENT; THE ASSASSINS.
"I always wanted to be a writer. It offers a more intimate, more personal satisfaction than doing the work of somebody else. I suppose it is the challenge of confronting yourself....I believe in the arts as a force for change. Over decades the arts accomplish a gradual civilization of people so that they become more human. And that, after all, is our goal."

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