The Group Theater Essay Research Paper The

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The Group Theater Essay, Research Paper The Group Theatre began as a small company that provided actors and actresses with a means and a location to practice plays. Three people, Harold Clurman, Lee Strasberg, and Cheryl Crawford formed The Group Theatre. The Group Theatre escalated in 1931 and ended abruptly in 1941 ? prevailing through the years there were hits, periods of flops, financial straits, depressing inactivity, and spiraling to as glittering of a success as any on Broadway. This story however is also the story of growth and development throughout American cultural life in the thirties. The year is 1928, and the tedious beginning of The Group Theatre began when Harold Clurman answered the call of a real estate man, Sidney Ross, who was thinking of going into

theatrical production and was seeking an aide of some kind. Clurman then contacted his friend, Strasberg, and the two of them outlined their ideas. The proposal was quite simple, they wanted to work on a play that had no formal production plans, but the work would be instructive to the actors, and a new theatre might be born of their modest efforts. After many weeks of rehearsals their play was viewed by an exclusive audience, and Waldo Frank, who had written the play advised Ross that the play should be run, the members reviewed the idea and came up with their own proposal?they would rehearse another play, and if the outcome was the same response they would head to New York. After six weeks they performed the play to about 100 people, and got the same response, however nothing

happened, and the experiment was finished. Cheryl Crawford urged Clurman to prepare for future by finding actors for their more permanent company. Some actors that were considered were Franchot Tone, Morris Carnovsky, Meisner, and others. Since The Group Theatre had no money, no plays, the meetings of the actors were to be entirely unofficial. The new idea of The Group Theatre was to establish a theatre in which the philosophy of life might be translated into a philosophy of the theatre. Also there were to be no stars in this theatre, not for the negative purpose of avoiding distinction, but because all distinction was to be personified in the production as a whole. Word got around that The Group Theatre was meeting and that it was a ?revolt? against The Theatre Guild and Clurman

was questioned. When he explained the situation to Miss Helburn, the confrontation ended?as it turned out, the Guild agreed that The Group Theatre could rehearse The House of Connelly, and have one thousand dollars. Another contributor was Maxwell Anderson, who gave The Group Theatre one thousand five hundred dollars, more later, and Edna Ferber, who contributed five hundred dollars as long as her niece Janet Fox could join the summer work. Fox lost her ambition, but Ferber gave The Group Theatre the money anyways. The Group Theatre found a location in Brookfield Center, Connecticut to rehearse, and all actors were given a notice that they were leaving in a few weeks ? it was the only contract anyone had, but no one ever asked for another. On June 8, 1931, twenty-eight actors,

some wives, two children, and three directors left The Theatre Guild building for Brookfield Center, Connecticut. That first summer was a time of learning, there were tiffs between actors, especially with Franchot Tone, who was a well known actor on Broadway, the type of living style each actor had established over time, and with the mental state at which all actors were in. One example of a time when the mental state was profusely questioned was when the actors had gone to visit a nearby farmhouse and when they returned they were told that they would not rehearse because they were too relaxed to rehearse. None of the actors soon forgot that day. The Group Theatre didn?t actually get the name The Group Theatre until August of 1931, when they returned to New York, when the three