Molders of the Modern American Actor

Written by John Palacio Sr.

Molders of the Modern American Actor – Part 1
Molders of the Modern American Actor – Part 2
Molders of the Modern American Actor – Part 3
Molders of the Modern American Actor – Part 4
Molders of the Modern American Actor – Part 5
Molders of the Modern American Actor – Part 6
Molders of the Modern American Actor – Part 7

Molders of the Modern American Actor – Part 1
Your Host: Desiree Anderson

Welcome to the introduction of our 7 part series written by John Palacio Sr. about the sources of our modern day acting techniques. The people, principles and practices that shape today’s actor. For the modern actor, little can hide from cameras and microphones. TV and film technology bring audiences within a hair’s breadth of the actor and the action. Every nuance, the smallest expression, the slightest inflection, is conveyed to the audience. As a result, today’s acting professional must master dozens of skills. In order to deliver thoroughly believable performances, today’s actors must communicate emotions that are consistent with the characters they portray. In this series, we touch on some of the people who brought us the acting techniques we use today.

Molders of the Modern American Actor – Part 2
Pre-Twentieth Century Molders of the Modern Actor.
Your Host: Danika Quinn

A brief journey back: ancient Greek theater, the Roman Amphitheatre Elizabethan Theater, The Globe Theater, Commedia dell’Arte, Japanese, Restoration, the Neo-Classical Movement, Romantic Movement, the Realist Movement, Naturalism

Molders of the Modern American Actor – Part 3
Acting Techniques through the 19th Century.
You Host: Marta McGonagle

Some of the inventions that changed theatre. Thomas Alva Edison, Georges Méliès, Herman Casler, D.W. Griffith, A brief remembrance of several leaders in the field, particularly the teachings of Konstantine Stanislavski.

Molders of the Modern American Actor – Part 4
The Silent Era
Your Host: Brett Howell

The period between the invention of motion pictures and the advent of Talkies at the end of the 1920’s is known as the Silent Era. Carl Laemmle, Jesse Lasky, Cecil B. DeMille, Louis B. Mayer, Richard Rowland, Marcus Loew, Samuel Goldwyn, .William Selig, William Fox, the stars and comedians of the silent era, playwright Bertoit Brecht, French avant-garde theorist Antonin Artaud, Vsevolod Meyerhold, and, of course, Michael Chekhov.

Molders of the Modern American Actor – Part 5
Evolution of acting techniques from the advent of the talkies into the 1950’s.
Your Host: Kim Estes
Like Chekhov, Richard Boleslavsky and Maria Ouspenskaya were Stanislavski alumnus. Their greatest theatrical achievement was the establishment of The American Laboratory Theatre in New York. The Lab emphasized three aspects of actor training. Among the approximately 500 members trained at the Lab, two individuals would profoundly affect the future direction of acting, writing and drama teaching in America. Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler.

Molders of the Modern American Actor – Part 6
The refinement of the modern acting techniques.
Your Host: Danika Quinn

We examine the method acting techniques of Sanford Meisner and Uta Hagen of method acting that began to be spearheaded into the 1950’s by Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler.

Molders of the Modern American Actor – Part 7
Inventions that improved our ways of communication and affected the performances that have changed us.
Your Host: Marta McGonagle

Today’s stories are more complex; their characters, more complicated. They have to be. We’re more complex and more complicated. Actors — from earliest theater up to modern times – have changed who we are, how we think and what we feel.


  1. Theater: The Lively Art, 6th Edition by Edwin Wilson and Alvin Goldfarb
  2. Actors on Acting: The Theories, Techniques, and Practices of the World’s Great Actors, Told in Their Own Words, Toby Cole (Editor), Helen Krich Chinoy (Editor), Patrick Sheehan (Editor), 1995
  3. The Actor Speaks: Twenty-Four Actors Talk About Process and Technique-by Janet Sonenberg, 1996
  4. On the Technique of Acting: The First Complete Edition of Chekhov’s Classic to the Actor – Michael Chekhov, Mel Gordon (Editor), 1993
  5. Creating a Role by Constantine Stanislavski
  6. Building a Character by Constantine Stanislavski
  7. An Actor Prepares by Constantine Stanislavski
  8. Acting: A Handbook of the Stanislavski Method by Toby Cole and Lee Strasberg
  9. An Actor’s Handbook: An Alphabetical Arrangement of Concise Statements on Aspects of Acting by Constantine Stanislavski
  10. My Life in Art by Constantine Stanislavski
  11. All About Method Acting by Ned Manderino
  12. A Dream of Passion: The Development of the Method by Lee Strasberg
  13. The Method by Paul Robert Walker
  14. A Practical Handbook for the Actor by Melissa Bruder, et al
  15. A Respect for Acting by Uta Hagen
  16. Stanislavski Revealed: The Actor’s Guide to Spontaneity on Stage by Sonia Moore
  17. The Technique of Inner Action: The Soul of a Performer’s Work by Bill Bruehl
  18. Sanford Meisner on Acting by Sanford Meisner, Dennis Longwell, and Sydney Pollack
  19. The Technique of Acting by Stella Adler
  20. Creating a Character: A Physical Approach to Acting by Moni Yakim, Muriel Broadman, and Stella Adler
  21. The Other Chekhov: A Biography of Michael Chekhov, the Legendary Actor, Director and Theorist by Charles Marowitz and Michael Chekhov
  22. To the Actor by Michael Chekhov, Mala Powers, and Simon Callow

Additional Resource Links
Biomechanics Rehearsal for “Shadow Mechanics”

Michael Chekhov and Embodied Cognition

Dennis Hopper Interview on James Dean and Method Acting

Stella Adler Talks About Theater

Sanford Meisner – Theater’s Best Kept Secret (Part 1 of 7)

Marlon Brando’s Famous “On the Waterfront” Speech

Raging Bull Final Monologue

Molders of the Modern American Actor is a Pepper Jay Production, directed by John Michael Ferrari, written by John Palacio Sr for the Actors Reporter, a channel of the Actors Podcast Network, a Pepper Jay Production.