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You Talkin’ to Me? The Revolution of Method Acting

black and white film still of marlon brando leaning against a wallMondays, January 15 - February 12, 2018
1:30 - 3:30 pm

With film critic Kevin Courrier
From its Russian origins, to the Actor’s Studio, to film stars such as Marlon Brando, James Dean, Julie Harris and Robert de Niro, discover how this revolutionary acting style transformed American theatre and film.


Series: $50; Drop-in: $12 (+ applicable taxes)
$6 drop-in for Toronto Jewish Film Society subscribers with valid (TJFS) ID

When we hear the names Marlon Brando, Julie Harris, James Dean, Diane Keaton, Robert de Niro and Ed Norton, we know they’re method actors. But do we really know what method acting is? In “You Talkin’ To Me?” film critic Kevin Courrier introduces us to a distinctly American acting style which began in Russia and but would come to transform American theatre and acting in the 20th Century. Ultimately, the Method changed both the manner of screen performances and the subject matter of movies themselves.
We will begin with an introduction to the Method and its origins in Russia with Konstantin Stanislavski and the Moscow Art Theatre in 1898 before examining the Actor’s Studio which brought social realism to the stage with the works of playwrights like Clifford Odets (Waiting For Lefty) in order to address the post-Depression social inequities in American life. The series also looks at the emergence of Marlon Brando (A Streetcar Named Desire), Julie Harris (A Member of the Wedding), James Dean (East of Eden), Eva Marie Saint (On the Waterfront) and Montgomery Clift (From Here to Eternity) and how they brought fresh nuances from the stage that came to revolutionize screen acting.
While Method acting once contrasted dramatically with the more classical styles of British actors like Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith and John Gielgud, we'll also examine how the more contemporary British actors such as Christian Bale and Keira Knightley have created a hybrid of classical and method style performances.

A man sits in theatre seats smilingKevin Courrier is a writer/broadcaster and film critic and lecturer. Courrier began his radio career as co-host of the interview program On the Arts for CJRT-FM in Toronto during the eighties. He moved to CBC Radio as a producer and film critic with the pop culture program Prime Time featuring Geoff Pevere in 1989. Over his career, Courrier has written about film and popular culture for The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star, as well as contributing film reviews to Boxoffice Magazine in Los Angeles until the fall of 2007.
Kevin is also the author of five published books including Dangerous Kitchen: The Subversive World of Zappa (2002) and Randy Newman's American Dreams (2005). In 2010, Courrier co-founded the popular online arts journal Critics at Large where he contributes reviews of popular culture. Kevin regularly lectures on film and popular culture at Ryerson University LIFE Institute, at University of Toronto’s Innis College, and at the three JCCs of Greater Toronto.

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