Modern Acting

The Lost Chapter of American Film and Theatre

  • Cynthia Baron

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxviii
  2. Making Modern Acting Visible

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Cynthia Baron
      Pages 3-18
    3. Cynthia Baron
      Pages 41-59
  3. Acting and American Performing Arts

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 85-85
  4. The Creative Labor of Modern Acting

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 135-135
    2. Cynthia Baron
      Pages 137-153
    3. Cynthia Baron
      Pages 155-170
    4. Cynthia Baron
      Pages 171-187
    5. Cynthia Baron
      Pages 189-215
  5. Modern and Method Acting

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 217-217
    2. Cynthia Baron
      Pages 219-242
    3. Cynthia Baron
      Pages 243-261
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 263-300

About this book


Everyone has heard of Method acting . . . but what about Modern acting? This book makes the simple but radical proposal that we acknowledge the Modern acting principles that continue to guide actors’ work in the twenty-first century. Developments in modern drama and new stagecraft led Modern acting strategies to coalesce by the 1930s – and Hollywood’s new role as America’s primary performing arts provider ensured these techniques circulated widely as the migration of Broadway talent and the demands of sound cinema created a rich exchange of ideas among actors.  

Decades after Strasberg’s death in 1982, he and his Method are still famous, while accounts of American acting tend to overlook the contributions of Modern acting teachers such as Josephine Dillon, Charles Jehlinger, and Sophie Rosenstein. Baron’s examination of acting manuals, workshop notes, and oral histories illustrates the shared vision of Modern acting that connects these little-known teachers to the landmark work of Stanislavsky. It reveals that Stella Adler, long associated with the Method, is best understood as a Modern acting teacher and that Modern acting, not Method, might be seen as central to American performing arts if the Actors’ Lab in Hollywood (1941-1950) had survived the Cold War.      


Method acting American theatre creative labor screen performance methods stagecraft

Authors and affiliations

  • Cynthia Baron
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Theatre and FilmBowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA

Bibliographic information