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NOW IN IT'S 16th INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED YEAR!
The solo performance play about HAROLD CLURMAN
The most influential figure in the history of the American Theatre
Director / Drama Critic / Co-founder of The Group Theatre

   

Let It Be Art starring Ronald RandPress

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Press for “LET IT BE ART! Harold Clurman's Life of Passion”


THE TIMES OF INDIA, Mysore

February 19, 2015

Capturing Persona of Clurman
Solo Performance Offers Insight into American Drama Artiste

by H.M.Aravind@timesgroup.com

Mysore: The life and times of Harold Clurman, the American theatre director and drama critic, will come alive at Rangayana on Friday. The theatre repertory is hosting “Let It Be Art!,” the solo play by Ronald Rand revolving around Harold Clurman, one of America’s most visionary theatre personalities. The play at Bhoomigeetha will enacted by celebrated artiste Ronald Rand, one of Clurman’s students. The solo performance is running in its 15th year across the globe.

“It is my guru’s passion and love for life that inspired me to bring him to life as the subject of my play,” said Ronald Rand. As Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world,” he believed in the motto and used theatre for that end. He was a man of great wit, and had a great sense of humor,” Rand said recollecting his association with Clurman.

“While I was acting in New York City, I thought it would be important to portray his life and bring him alive in a solo performance and thus began the journey which has taken me to different parts of the world,” Rand told reporters.

The one-hour play will start at 6:30pm followed by interaction with the audience. Clurman was co-founder of New York City’s Group Theatre and directed over 40 plays in his career, which were among some of the most influential plays of the 20th century.

Rand is touring India for the fourth time visiting universities and theaters. He said he has performed the play some 400 times, a dozen times in India. This is his first time he is in Mysore, thanks to the Center for Proficiency Development and Placement Services of the University of Mysore. Director of the Centre Niranjan Vanalli approached the Centre to stage the play. “We got in touch with Rangayana and it worked.”

“On February 21, we will have a discussion with Rand and we have invited amateur theatre troupes and those interested. The interaction will start at 10:30am and Rand will present his “Art of Transformation” Workshop taught all around the world,” said Rangayana director H. Janardham.

 

Backstage

May 9, 2003

“LET IT BE ART! Harold Clurman's Life of Passion"

by Elias Stimac

Like a master class with an accomplished teacher, "LET IT BE ART! Harold Clurman's Life of Passion" offers indelible insights both into a theatrical legend and the mysteries of the theatre itself. Ronald Rand has written a heartfelt tribute to the late director-author-critic Harold Clurman, and portrays him at age 78 as he looks back on his roller-coaster career in the arts.

Speaking to his unseen assistant and a few visiting students, Clurman settles down behind the cluttered desk in his New York apartment in June 1980, humorously recounting his personal and professional experiences. But soon the spry septuagenarian is up and about, energetically and eloquently advocating his philosophy on the significance of theatre in society. He recalls stumbling into show business; helping to form the Group Theatre; writing his seminal book, "The Fervent Years," and staging classic plays in the U.S. and abroad. But mostly he imparts his love of life and the endless possibilities it offers.

While strolling and sidestepping down his own personal memory lane, Clurman comes into contact with some formidable colleagues, including Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, Clifford Odets, Sandy Meisner, Katharine Hepburn, and Marlon Brando. Rand not only gives a convincing and colorful portrayal of the title character, but also imitates many of the celebrities he encounters with impressive vocal dexterity.

Director Gregory Abels is in sync with Rand every step of the way, keeping the memories magical and the mood merry. He stages each scene with grace and wit, expertly utilizing Rand's dramatic and comedic abilities.

The Ballroom Theatre at Century Center provides a perfectly elegant backdrop for the play, and Graham Kindred lights the proceedings with a warm, embracing glow. Rand's Clurman, despite his age, is as youthful and excitable as a kid in a candy store.

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The Des Moines Register - IOWA LIFE

September 13, 2003

“LET IT BE ART! Harold Clurman's Life of Passion” brings director/critic to life

by Jody Crossman
Register Staff Writer

While his name may not be as recognizable as Henrik- Ibsen, Clifford Odets or even Arthur Miller, Harold Clurman's ardor for the theater and his contribution to the craft of acting remains an inspiration for actors, directors and theater lovers.

His story is told in "LET IT BE ART! Harold Clurman's Life of Passion," presented by the Interstate Theater Exchange at the Vaudeville Mews Thursday night. The play casts the spotlight on the former drama critic, director and renowned co-founder of The Group Theatre with an emphasis on his intense passion for the theater.

Written and performed solely by New York actor Ronald Rand, the production is a snapshot of Clurman's life as told to his students (the audience) late one afternoon in the confines of his cluttered apartment.

Clurman, who saw his first show in 1907 at age 6, confides in this audience tales of his studies at the Sorbonne in Paris; of the years he courted and wed actress Stella Adler; of the sometimes fledgling Group Theatre company; and of actors like Marlon Brando, Kathryn Hepburn and Roy Scheider, whom he directed during his career.

Throughout the stories, Clurman lets loose his parade of philosophies on everything from life and love to acting, theater and its patrons.

"I think everybody should go to the theater at least once a month," he said. Those who didn't, he believed, were uncivilized and should be put on display.

Rand, who studied under Clurman in the late 1970s, wholly embodies this character with his thick, but refined, New York accent and graceful, well-thought-out gestures.

It's obvious he has closely studied Clurman's technique on acting, but also his mannerisms, voice and habits, for he displays them marvelously on stage in a way that will make audiences feel as if they've come face-to-face with C lurman.

The set, comprised of an oriental rug and a collection of wooden tables, chairs and a desk, lends an intimacy to the stage, making the audience feel as if they're sitting in Clurman's living room. It's a small detail, but one that lends a sense of comfort and realism.

If you're unfamiliar with Harold Clurman, no matter. Thanks to Rand's unending devotion to his former teacher, "Clurman" comes to life again in vivid, inspiring detail that's a history lesson for all.

Reporter Jody Crossman can he reached -8t (515) 2848266 or Jcrossman@dmreg.com

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The Villager

April 16, 2003

Theatre’s Elder Statesman Reborn

THEATRE
LET IT BE ART! Harold Clurman's Life of Passion
Written and performed by Ronald Rand
Directed by Gregory Abels. Through April 26
at the Century Center Theatre, 111 East
15th Street.

by Jerry Tallmer

A lot of people who never met Harold Clurman, and even some who did, have cause at the moment to rub their eyes and ears. Harold – Mr. Clurman to you and me – has been reborn in the person of Ronald Rand at the Century Theatre on East 15th Street.

“For some reason,” says Rand, who replicates Clurman complete with fedora, gloves, walking stick, and French Legion of Honor ribbon in the left lapel, “doing this show, I don’t have to act. I’m sort of a vessel for Harold, an embodiment, and he lets me live.”

Who was Harold Clurman? A case could be made that he was perhaps the most essential man (or woman) of the American theatre from the 1930’s until his death 50 years later.

He was the fire and brains of the founding triumvirate (Lee Strasberg, Cheryl Crawford, Harold Clurman) of the Group Theatre, that Depression-hungry body of committed actors-playwrights-directors who by main strength and purpose yanked the theater of this nation into the grit and reality of the 20th century.

He was the author of “The Fervent Years,” a personal history of the Group and of that era that is as thrilling to read today as the day it came out in 1945. Also of a half-dozen other seminal books, including “Lies Like Truth,” (Clurman’s definition of acting) and “All People Are Famous (Instead of a Autobiography).”

The more than 40 plays that bowed in New York under Clurman’s direction range from “Awake and Sing” and “Golden Boy” (Clifford Odets), to “Truckline Odets” (Maxwell Anderson; Brando’s debut), to “Member of the Wedding” (Carson McCuller’s; Julie Harris’s breakout), to “The Autumn Garden” (Lillian Hellman), “The Time of the Cuckoo” (Arthur Laurents), “Bus Stop” (William Inge), “The Waltz of the Toreadors” (Jean Anouilh), “Orpheus Descending” (Tennessee Williams), “A Touch of the Poet” (Eugene O’Neill), “Incident at Vichy” (Arthur Miller).

From 1955 until his death, Harold Clurman was drama critic and weathervane of intelligent sensitivity at “The Nation” magazine. He was in on the beginnings of Lincoln Center. He was a teacher, a lecturer, a bon vivant, a man about town, a first nighter always with a young woman on his arm (to go with that Legion of Honor), an inspiration to the young of every age, the theatre aspirant of any age, and when he was taken from us in 1980, we were (I wrote) left with a hole at the Russian Tea Room, first booth on the left, that would never be filled. Then again, the Russian Tea Room is now itself a hole in space.

He was also the husband, first of Stella Adler, blazing actress and teacher of acting in her own right; then of Juleen Compton, actress turned creator/owner of the Century Center Theatre complex.

“Even when I was in junior high school in Coral Gables, Florida,” says Ronald Rand,  I knew I had to study with Stella Adler. So I came up to New York to do that, and was with her, when she was at the peak of her form, for over five years."

“She talked about Harold all the time. He was then teaching at Hunter College, Columbia and at the 92nd Street Y, so I began studying with him, and it was like everyone said: “You walked out of his classes floating on air. I even took classes with Jerzy Grotowski, so between those three teachers…

“But,” says Rand, “I had absolutely no idea that I would ever do a play about Harold. Until Stella wrote an introduction to a new edition of “The Fervent Years” in which she said she thought Harold’s legacy would be lost because he had no heir. This really touched me, so I wrote her and said I was considering writing a play about Harold. She wrote back: “I’m afraid you shouldn’t do this” – because who could play Harold”? – “but if you have to, then go ahead.”

At which point Rand set to reading everything Clurman ever wrote, and doing a lot of research in the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center.

“It was when I was reading about the Group that I started hearing Harold and Lee (Strasberg) talking, and then Stella and Harold, and Stella and Lee, and even Cheryl Crawford and (actor/director/teacher) Bobby Lewis. So I wrote a play, “The Group!” This was in 1985. It’s had about a dozen staged readings, was in the New Playwrights’ Festival at the Cherry Lane two years ago, and is soon to be produced at Northern Illinois University.

“Then, about a year and a half ago, out of the blue, I said: ‘I have to write a play about Harold.’ And I didn’t have to write it. I just listened to Harold, and the play wrote itself.”

Ronald Rand is also the one-man-band creator/publisher/editor of a marvelous newspaper called “The Soul of the American Actor,” a quarterly compendium of essays and other writings by mortals and immortals of theatre, plus interviews (with, in one recent issue, Harold Prince, Peter Stone, Robert Brustein, Bob Balaban, Charlotte Moore, Romulus Linney, and a half-dozen others.)

“It started out at eight pages, now it’s 28. Whatever I make as an actor, I put into it.” The publications’ staff artist was/is the late Al Hirschfeld. “When I began the paper, I asked him could I have one drawing. He said: “Yes.”

Eli Wallach used to call Harold Clurman “the Knute Rockne of the theatre.” The kind of Knute Rockne who would come into a classroom, stamp on the floor, and then proclaim to the assembled drama students: “This is real. Don’t give me any of your arty-farty ideas.”

Or so Ronald Rand tells us. Give that doppelganger the Legion of Honor.

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ARIZONA DAILY STAR

Accent

Play's focus is a legend of the stage

Tucson, Arizona
November 3, 2006

If you're thinking that a one-man show called "Let It Be Art!" sounds a bit highfalutin, think again.

Harold Clurman, the focus of actor Ronald Rand's re-creation opening Thursday at the Invisible Theatre, is a man whom renowned method actor Eli Wallach once called "the Knute Rockne of the theater." Not just a drama coach, in other words, but a hard-charging trainer who could inspire his students by stomping on the floor and yelling: "This is real! Don't give me any of your arty-farty ideas!"

As Mr. Rand explained in a phone interview from New York, the key to his approach is revealed by the show's subtitle: "Harold Clurman's Life of Passion."

Born in 1901 on New York's Lower East Side, Harold Clurman was no anti-intellectual — he had a degree in letters from the Sorbonne. But what made him special was his unquenchable enthusiasm for every aspect of human activity.

Mr. Rand became involved with Clurman almost by chance. Mr. Rand, who grew up in Florida, began acting early, eventually appearing in more than 250 plays with a professional children's theater. But his greatest dream was to go to New York and study with acting teacher Stella Adler, the only American actor to be instructed by Konstantin Stanislavski himself.

Mr. Rand finally made it to the Big Apple in the '70s and was accepted as a student by Stella Adler, with whom he studied for five years. As Mr. Rand remembers it, she was then at the peak of her form and eager to share everything she had learned from Stanislavski. But Harold Clurman seemed almost as important to her.

"She talked about Harold all the time," Mr. Rand recalls. Finally, he took one of Clurman's classes to see for himself.

"He was a whirlwind of passion," Mr. Rand recalls. "You came out of his class walking on air, imbued with his terrific belief in human goodness and his zeal for the theater."

A director with more than 40 great Broadway plays to his credit, from Clifford Odets' "Golden Boy" through "Member of the Wedding" and "Bus Stop" to Arthur Miller's "Incident at Vichy," Harold Clurman was also a prominent critic, teacher and writer, a bon vivant and a recipient of the French Legion of Honor.

When Clurman's memoirs of the Group Theatre were reissued in 1982, Stella Adler wrote in her introduction that she was afraid Clurman's legacy would be lost because he had no heir. It was a challenge Mr. Rand couldn't resist — he wrote to Stella Adler and said he wanted to bring Mr. Clurman to life in a play. Stella Adler gave her blessing a little uneasily, because — as she wrote back — "Who could play Harold?"

The answer was supplied by Mr. Rand himself, an actor whose credits span a distinguished range of stage, TV and movie roles.

Harold Clurman's words and Mr. Rand's playwriting skills have combined to make, fittingly, a "Life of Passion" a theatrical event.

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ARIZONA JEWISH POST

Arts & Culture

Renowned director will be focus of play at IT

by PHYLLIS BRAUN
AJP Executive Editor
October 27, 2006

Let It Be Art! Harold Clurman's Life of Passion, a one-man show written and performed by Ronald Rand, will be presented next month by the Invisible Theatre.

Clurman co-founded the Group Theatre in the 1930s with Lee Strasberg and Cheryl Crawford. He directed more than 40 im­portant plays of the 20th century, including A Member of the Wedding with Julie Harris; Bus Stop with Kim Stanley; and Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing and Golden Boy. He was also drama critic for The Nation and The New Republic and author of several books, including The Fervent Years.

In Let It Be Art, Clurman talks to "his students" (the audience) as he looks back on his career of more than 50 years in the theatre.

Rand, who studied with Clurman and Stella Adler — whom Clurman eventually married — has performed Let It Be Art! at venues across the United States and around the world (including Athens, Greece, and Tbilisi, Georgia) for the past five years.

In a telephone interview, Rand said that Clurman had not only "extraordinary pas­sion, but this great sense of humor and hu­manity and idealism. You became intoxicated by his love of art, Of life.",

Born on New York's Lower East Side, Clurman was only 6 when his father took him to see Yiddish theatre legend Jacob Adler in Uriel Acosta. He later saw Adler as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, which made a great impression on him, said Rand.

Jacob Adler is one of the people Rand embodies during the play, which also en­compasses Clurman's relationships with Stella Adler, Alfred Stieglitz, Marlon Brando and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, among others.

The Invisible Theatre production is di­rected by Gregory Abels. Performances will be Thursday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 10 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 11, at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 12 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25, with group discounts available. For reservations, call 882-9721.

 

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DELAWARE & HUDSON CANVAS

"All around me the painters and composers groped for ways to express contemporary society in their work.

Where, I wondered, was this parallel activity in theater?"

Those are words spoken by Harold Clurman. To theatre historians, the name Clurman is synonymous with Group Theatre, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Stella Adler, Kurt Weill, William Inge, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Lillian Hellman, GB Shaw, Carson McCullers and, perhaps in answer to the question he posed above, Clifford Odets.

All these names are just a small sampling of the majestic theatrical creators that Clurman worked with. He directed almost 60 Broadway plays from 1925 to 1966, many of them "household names", i.e., The Member of the Wedding Bus Stop Waiting For Lefty Awake 4 Sing!, Golden Boy All My Sons, Orpheus Descending, After the Fall and A Shot in The Dark. He was, along with Elia Kazan, a proponent of the "new" American drama that came from the pens of Odets and the later great playwrights mentioned above. He was , involved with the historic  producing company The Group Theatre and the famous theatrical Adler family (married to Stella Adler, herself a famous director, actress and teacher from 1943 to 1960.) The world renowned The Actor's Studio was formed as a direct result of The Group Theatre's directors and teachers.

Clurman also authored seven books, and from 1953 until his death in 1980 he was a drama critic for The Nation. As the passionate and talented leader of the Group Theatre. Clurman invigorated American theater with his political and artistic idealism.

Born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1901, Clurman had his first exposure to theater at the age of six, when his parents took him to see the great Yiddish actor and father of Stella, Jacob Adler. Although the young boy knew no Yiddish, he later said of this first play, "...it was a transforming experience. I immediately had a passionate inclination toward the theater."

The vitality of the Yiddish Theater and the community of actors who made it up would long influence Clurman. After leaving home, he attended Columbia and later the University of Paris, where he wrote his thesis on the history of French drama from 1890 to 1914. It was then that Clurman first began to formulate his vision of a new American theater.

On his return to New York the following year, without any formal training, he made his stage debut as an extra at the Greenwich Village Theater. While acting he also worked as a play reader and involved himself in every aspect of theater. He said, "I was interested in what the theater was going to say...The theater must say something. It must relate to society. It must relate to the world we live in." He believed that the new American theater would not simply be a place of entertainment, but an opportunity for artists to express their political and spiritual visions.

The dramatic community had reached a point of desperation, after the stock market crash of 1929; with the number of new productions in decline and theaters closing by the dozens. Clurman suggested a theater with a permanent acting company. After seeing the Moscow Arts Theater, Clurman knew that if theater was going to succeed it must make radical changes in the acting process. Using Constantin Stanislaysky's ensemble approach, the actors of the Moscow Arts Theater had presented a play more emotional and realistic than anything that had been on Broadway. Beginning in late 1930, Clurman gave weekly lectures on the benefits of a permanent acting company. He believed that once actors knew and trusted each other they could truly work together to create great theater. This new theater promised to exchange the opportunity of stardom and wealth for a lasting and meaningful community.

By 1931, together with Lee Strasberg and Cheryl Crawford, Clurman had gathered 28 others to form the Group Theatre. Among the, young troupe's members were such greats as Stella Adler, Morris Carnovsky, Phoebe Brand, Elia Kazan, Clifford Odets, and Sanford Meisner. The success of the Group Theatre prompted many other companies to embrace the ideas of Stanislaysky. The most successful: of the Group Theatre's plays were those written by Clifford Odets, such as Awake and Sing!, Golden Boy, and Waiting for Lefty. Though the Group Theatre lasted only ten years, it produced twenty plays and brought an excitement to the American stage that still remains.

After the closing of the Group Theatre, Clurman brought his vision to Broadway, where he was instrumental in teaching some of the most skilled and successful actors of the time. He worked to insure the theater's growth by elevating its productions to the level of any other of the great arts. Working with great writers he created theater that was at once serious and popular, arid uniquely American in recognition of his great influence and commitment to the arts, he was awarded the rare honor of having a Broadway theater named after him. Today, twenty years after his death, Harold Clurman is considered one of the most respected and influential members of the American theater.

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“The Georgian Press”

June 12, 2005

 

‘If This Be Magic, Let It Be Art! If this Be Art, Let It Be Magic!’

What exactly do these words mean to us all? Why is this phrase so important for contemporary art? Ask yourself these questions after hearing this simple phrase from a very interesting person who came to Georgia at the invitation of Keti Dolidze for the 9 th Annual Georgian International Festival of Art ‘Gift’. His name is Ronald Rand , and he is well known throughout the United States and all over the world.

Ronald Rand , actor, playwright and publisher of the only American newspaper dedicated to art and theatre, The Soul of the American Actor , began his acting career as a child, appearing in over 250 plays with a professional children’s theatre in Florida . His Off-Broadway debut in Julius Caesar at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with Richard Dreyfuss and George Rose was followed by numerous New York appearances, including his performance as Hamm in Endgame, directed by Joseph Chaikin; the lead in Goldoni's The Liar; as the First Gravedigger in Hamlet; leads in several of Bernard Shaw's plays; and a! ll three male roles in Perfect Crime for two years. Mr. Rand also toured for five months throughout 35 European cities as the Fool in King Lear.

He has appeared on more than 30 television programs. His film appearances include: the upcoming Palace Thief with Kevin Kline; as Richard Nixon opposite Eric Roberts in Rude Awakening; In & Out; Jerky Boys; and Robert Redford’s Quiz Show. Rand was fortunate enough to study with Harold Clurman and Stella Adler, and also with Jerzy Grotowski, Bobby Lewis, Joseph Chaikin, and at New York University ’s School of Arts , and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

As a playwright, he penned The Group!, about the life of the famed Group Theatre. His new solo play, LET IT BE ART! Harold Clurman's Life of Passion, which had a special engagement at The Gift Festival in Georgia , was directed by Gregory Abels, and was recently seen in an acclaimed 3-week run Off-Broadway in New York City .

I met Mr. Rand after his performance of LET IT BE ART! Harold Clurman's Life of Passion at the Little Theatre in Tbilisi . This play immediately thrusts the audience into a world of boundless passion for the theatre, taking them on an inspiring journey through Clurman’s fascinating creative world. So inspired by the enormous artistic energy put into the play itself, and into the bright, lively and very ‘human’ personage, I went up to Mr. Rand. When I looked in his eyes and started talking with him, I realised that he was completely different from the man who had stood before me on the stage several minutes earlier. From that moment, I couldn’t stop thinking about how surprising the transformation was that brilliant Stanislavsky and Vakhtangov taught their students almost a century ago.

When the actor took questions from the audience together with Ms. Dolidze, the Artistic Director of the festival, I kept hearing just one phrase from Mr. Rand that deeply touched my heart: ‘Speaking of the phrase I’ve mentioned: “If This Be Magic, Let It Be Art! If this Be Art, Let It Be Magic!” He said in his remarks: “I always remember that Stella Adler would say: “When you take the stage, you represent 2,000 years of theatre, so you’d better be very sure about what you have to say.” And also, Harold used to tell us: “Have fun – make magic!” And I think that ultimately this is the ritual of the theatre, as it should be’.”

And I realized: this is exactly what Mr. Rand meant. An half an hour earlier he had made everyone see a miracle - the great miracle of transformation and art, and he made us believe.

I was fortunate to communicate with Mr. Rand for a couple of days, during and after other performances of the festival, and simply walking the streets of Tbilisi . I also had an opportunity to attend his master class at the Tbilisi State Theatre Institute.

Ronald Rand also publishes The Soul of American Actor newspaper, which he founded in 1998, and serves as editor-in-chief. I became extremely interested in this because it is the only free newspaper in America celebrating the art and craft of the actor and the art of the theatre. We managed to interview this outstanding playwright and actor, a man who has studied his art with the best representatives of the US theatrical culture.

Q: Do you think it is important for traditional theatre to exist in the 21st century in its primary form, or should completely new standards be created?

A: I think thisis actually like Harold Clurman said in my play: it’s up to each person to do what they can to touch human values. And we see great artists and directors – like Grotowski, for instance, whom I studied with. He knew where Stanislavsky had taken us, and then he wanted to go a little further. But he always believed in Stanislavsky’s work. The important thing is that you never forget your traditions, because they give you the strength to go further, and there is no limit to what you can do. Seeing actresses li! ke Keti (Dolidze), Vanessa Redgrave, Julie Harris – They understand what tradition means, and they go further to wake us up and show us our potential.

Q: You told one of our colleagues from Georgian TV that even though you have performed in numerous musicals, TV projects and films, your desire is to embody different ideas. What are they?

A: The ideas that, in a sense, Harold and Stella stood for: love of art, compassion for mankind, reason, and love of life. Harold said to live life to the fullest. There are so many amazing things in this world: so many thrilling books to read, performances to go to, that every day is full of wonder. And he said we should fill ourselves with all that excitement. When I was with him, I would leave his classes floating on air because I couldn’t believe he had so much passion at 80 years old. That’s what we really stand for – it is love – love for one another through art, always inspiring yourself through art, through great books, great plays and great movies. We should remember that there is always something to give.

Q: You put these wonderful ideas into the articles of your newspaper, don’t you? What is The Soul of American Actor like?

A: I started the newspaper eight yeas ago in New York City , because I felt there was such an emphasis on the commercial side and business. People weren’t talking about the art of the theatre or the craft of the actor. There was no other newspaper about this art in the country, so I thought this would be something very exciting to do. However, I really didn’t know how to make a paper. I was actually approached by the artistic director of a small theatre. This woman had her ow! n newsletter and some extra money that she didn’t know what to do with. So I thought perhaps I might use it to begin a newspaper. I went to a graphic designer and we made the paper looked that way I wanted it to. Then I called some of the greatest actors in America : Julie Harris, Anne Jackson, Marian Seldes, and many other outstanding people, and they all agreed to be in my paper. And that’s how it was born, and ever since, I’ve had amazing artists in the Newspaper, like Arthur Miller, Jacques D’Amboise, Elie Wiesel, James Earl Jones, among other, many other of America ’s most important artists. So, in a sense, what it does is to share with the community all about the art and crafts. For me this is the most important thing.

Q: How has your paper evolved?

A: When I began it was only 8 pages long, and now it is 28 pages. Many people support us. Arthur Miller, before he died, gave us permission to publish part of his works in the paper. I’ve also had permission to publish excerpts from Grotowski’s books. I have many things written by avante-garde artists in America . Another thing I do in the paper is interview artists. They talk about the craft: how they build cha! racter, why they care so much about art and theatre. I’ve had articles about the past, such as a piece by Isadora Duncan and those kinds of artists from years ago. Young students need such education, especially in the USA , especially when we don’t even have a national theatre in America .

Q: What’s your opinion of the state of art and theatre in Georgia ?

A: I was very pleased to learn that you have so many theatres in Georgia . However, I know that the conditions for actors are not good enough. The same is true in our country. It is extremely important that the government care for its artists. What does history preserve? The great masterpieces of the past.

Harold Clurman, who was so articulate and a great speaker about art and culture, used to tell us: ‘You have to get people excited and convince them that this is important because you have a responsibility.” That’s what I learned from Stella Adler and Clurman. We have the responsibility as artists to improve life. Their motto was: Change the World! Many people thought, ‘How can theatre change the world?’ If you change people, you change the world, right? Because any one person can ultimately change the world.

Yes, the government should support actors and other artists, but we should all fight for our rights, for our responsibility. When we had dinner with Georgian President Saakashvili, I was very happy to hear how he repeated the words ‘culture’ and ‘art’ several times. I was very glad, because we should fight for art and art theatre!

I am also very grateful to Keti and Anna, and her mother who is a professor there, for inviting me to attend the exams at the Georgian Theatre Institute of Theatre. The students were amazing. So talented. Oh, it is just wonderful!

Q: Will you return to Georgia ?  

A: Oh, I’d love to! I love this country and the people’s warmth. The audience is wonderful – so receptive, so caring, so loving. I feel the warmth and hospitality in everyone. So it is really so special to be here. The country has so much to give to the world, and when I am back in the United States I am going to write a big article about the whole festival to let Americans know how wonderful it is.

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TALKIN’ BROADWAY

All That Chat.com

LET IT BE ART! Harold Clurman's Life of Passion at The Arc Light Theatre , New York City April 24, 2005
Presented by the Mirror Rep Company. Delightful.

The one man show was written by and is performed by actor Ronald Rand who studied with both Harold Clurman and Stella Adler. Entertaining historical presentation.

Clurman's niece by marriage was there & commented on how dead-on Rand was.

I found it particularly interesting that he quotes Clurman on actors using the different systems.

I wish I'd written the quote down.

What I got from it was that actors should feel comfortable using what works for them.


There was a Q&A afterwards which continued the good feeling of the play. Will probably see it again.

Milla

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Ronald Rand’s “LET IT BE ART! Harold Clurman's Life of Passion”

Reviewed by Wendy R. Williams

Living in New York provides endless possibilities to an artist – it is a city where anything both can and frequently does happen. “LET IT BE ART! Harold Clurman's Life of Passion,” a one-man show written/acted by Ronald Rand and directed by Gregory Abels, tells the story of the legendary director, Harold Clurman, a “right” man who was in the right place at the right time. And oh the thing he saw and the people he met.

There are many reasons to go to the theatre and one is to learn. “LET IT BE ART! Harold Clurman's Life of Passion,” the play, is chockfull of theatrical history and intimate stories about theatrical icons. Ronald Rand recounts Harold Clurman’s life from his beginnings on the Lower East Side, through his school years at the Sorbonne in Paris (where he was Aaron Copland’s roommate) onto his legendary success as a director. Some of the fascinating anecdotes in the play came from Mr. Clurman’s association with the Group Theatre, where he worked with Lee Strasberg, Cheryl Crawford, Franchot Tone, Stella Adler, Clifford Odets, and later with Marlon Brando.

“LET IT BE ART! Harold Clurman's Life of Passion,” the play is obviously a work of love for Mr. Rand. He has done extensive research into Mr. Clurman’s life and produced a theatrical evening that is not to be missed for the history lesson alone. Even the program is filled with details of Mr. Clurman’s life. Mr. Rand is very comfortable with the character and moves well on the stage. He has written a very funny script and Mr. Abels did a fine job directing the show.

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THE OOBR REVIEW

Dec. 12, 2003

" Life's a losing game ... enjoy it!"

"LET IT BE ART! Harold Clurman's Life of Passion"
New York Solo Play Festival - Where Eagles Dare Theatre

Review by Seth Bisen-Hersh

Harold Clurman was one of the most influential 'men in the 30's through the 80's. He was co-founder of the Group Theatre, an innovative ensemble art theatre. He was a critic. He was a teacher. He was an author. And he has been brought back to life by writer and star, Ronald Rand.

"LET IT BE ART! Harold Clurman's Life of Passion" started with some of Copland's music, which is fitting, because, as is soon learned, Clurman roomed with him in Paris. Then Harold Clurman entered the stage. Clurman talks to his assistant and his students in the front row. They and the audience have come to absorb his wisdom and listen to his past adventures with many famed stars of yesteryear.

Thus the show consists of many anecdotes and noteworthy quotes. It ran a fitting length, 85 minutes, and ends with a poignant message about the theatre: "If this be magic, let it be art; if this be art, let it be magic." It delves into questions about theater's existence, purpose, past and future.

Rand was very animated as Clurman. Clurman seem be reincarnated. Rand did a superb job of staying in character and of playing many other characters through Clurman's impersonations. His inflections and tics were perfected to a T. His charm and charisma shone throughout the evening.

The theatre was transformed into an office - there was a desk cluttered with period props, chairs surrounding the desk, and a coat rack with Clurman's signature cape. Rand donned this majestic cape at the end of the show, bringing Clurman back to life one final time.

Clurman is biography on stage. It provides for a digressional, stream of consciousness view of Clurman's life. Anyone who wishes to increase his/her knowledge of major influences on the American Theatre should see this show.

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Oggi

August 25, 2002

RONALD RAND
ACTOR, PLAYWRIGHT, DIRECTOR, JOURNALIST

by Mario Fratti

Ronald Rand is very active in the New York world of theatre. He is amazing in his monologue play, “LET IT BE ART! Harold Clurman's Life of Passion,” (with passion anything is possible).

Well directed by Gregory Abels at the New York University TIPA Theatre, he kept the audience enthralled by re-creating the passionate personality of the great director, Harold Clurman, and his struggle, his love, his persistence in looking for significant drama.

The life of Harold Clurman is an example for all of us.

Students should see and study this play. Teachers and drama coaches should invite Ronald Rand to perform for their students by the thousands.

– Mario Fratti, (plawright of the musical, Nine”
published in the Italian newspaper, Oggi, August 25, 2002.

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Shows That Enjoy Repeated Runs: It's Not So Easy

by Simi Horwitz

"Frequently I get the comment 'What else are you working on?' The implication is, why would you be doing any show for more than one run without working on something else as well?"

The answer to that implied rhetorical question -- why do any show for more than one run? -- seems obvious enough: money, as well as exposure that may conceivably lead to a longer run in a more prestigious setting or that elusive golden role in a major play, movie, or TV series.

Career boosting is not the only reason for doing the same show repeatedly over a number of years.

Consider Ronald Rand and his solo piece "LET IT BE ART! Harold Clurman's Life of Passion" -- based on the life of theatre critic and theorist Harold Clurman -- which he has performed since 2001 in various venues.

As Mr. Rand tells it, he is determined to introduce (or reintroduce) audiences to Clurman and his almost unprecedented "passion for theatre…. I want to do this show for the next 40 years."

Regardless of why a theatre artist would want to do a host of runs, there are many challenges in the mounting of these shows.

Back Stage interviewed several writer/performers including Ronald Rand , who has been performing his show since 2001, Libby Skala on her one-woman show, "Lilia!" since 1999, and Andrea Reese, about "Cirque Jacqueline," a solo piece about the life of Jackie Kennedy, about some of the pitfalls they've encountered.

The most pointed are the technical, like finding oneself in a less than optimal space with an already-existing set on stage that cannot be moved for a late-night or Monday night performance.

Ms. Skala talked about the obstacles she has faced in some of the more modest performing spaces, which may not be as comfortable as one would wish -- unheated and freezing in the winter, or, conversely, unendurably hot (thanks to air conditioners on the fritz) in the summer, or perhaps not even fully lit because some of the lights have blown.

Assuming the role of producer is also clearly a gray area. On the one hand, it gives the performer the chance to choose (within certain parameters) his or her own space.

Not all theatre artists want to be seen as producers, even if they are functioning in that capacity. "I don't think of myself as a producer, but rather as a member of a team," says Mr. Rand, emphasizing that he has never actually rented a theatre for his show. Instead, all of the space s he has performed in represent contributions by theatre management in exchange for a percentage of the box office take. That is, indeed, a common arrangement.

And they all have done a great deal of promotion and marketing. Reese hired a publicist, and a director (Charles Messina) to further hone her performance. Ms. Skala also worked with directors at various points in her show's development -- Gabriel Barre and Gregg Goldston are credited -- and, as noted, hired a publicist. Ronald Rand worked with a director (Gregory Abels) and is currently serving as his own publicist, focusing his efforts, at least for the moment, on the school and college circuit.

"One of the things I'd love to see happen is for me to do a program with Libby Skala , performing our two shows in concert," Mr. Rand says. "Her grandmother, Lilia Skala, and Harold Clurman share an essential spirit. They were two extraordinary artists, larger than life, with dignity and passion. They were a life force."

Is the pairing of the two shows likely? "We've talked about it," remarks Mr. Rand.

And it may just happen. After all, neither Mr. Rand nor Ms. Skala is confined by the concept of a limited engagement in only one space. Time is, indeed, on their side.

(Excerpted version)

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Press Release of “LET IT BE ART! Harold Clurman's Life of Passion”

New York City:

The moment Ronald Rand takes the stage as Harold Clurman in his solo performance, LET IT BE ART! Harold Clurman's Life of Passion, embodying Harold Clurman, through voice, gesture and size, we are immediately thrust into a world of boundless passion for the theatre, and taken on a inspiring journey that lingers within our consciousness for a very long time.

Mr. Rand as writer and performer captures the essence of who Harold Clurman was and what he stood for. His creation instills in the audience an unforgettable experience of passion, courage and inspiration.

We follow Harold Clurman from his beginnings on the Lower East Side, through his education at the Sorbonne in Paris with Aaron Copland as his roommate, his initiation into the theatre through The Provincetown Players and The Theatre Guild, his friendship with Lee Strasberg, and their decision with Cheryl Crawford, to found The Group Theatre, as well as his relationships with Stella Adler, Alfred Stieglitz, Marlon Brando and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, among several others.

LET IT BE ART! Harold Clurman's Life of Passion, starring Ronald Rand is a dramatic journey of humor, boldness and fervor, of the man heralded as "the elder statesman of the American Theatre." An experience you don't want to miss!

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Photos for the Press

Right click on a thumnail below and SAVE TARGET AS to save to your computer. All photos in 300 dpi in jpg format.

Ronald Rand as Harold Clurman Ronald Rand as Harold Clurman
Ronald Rand in
"Let It Be Art! Harold Clurman Life of Passion”
Ronald Rand in
"Let It Be Art! Harold Clurman Life of Passion”
Harold Clurman
Ronald Rand in
"Let It Be Art! Harold Clurman Life of Passion”
Harold Clurman standing in front
of the theatre named in his honor, 1980.
Photo: Jack Mitchell
Harold Clurman
Ronald Rand as Harold Clurman Harold Clurman, 1979
Ronad Rand as Clurman Ronad Rand as Clurman
Ronald Rand as Harold Clurman Ronald Rand as Harold Clurman
Ronald Rand as Harold Clurman Ronad Rand as Clurman
Ronald Rand as Harold Clurman Ronald Rand as Harold Clurman
Ronal Rand as Harold Clurman Ronald Rand as Harold Clurman
Ronald Rand as Harold Clurman Ronald Rand as Harold Clurman
Ronald Rand as Harold Clurman Ronald Rand as Harold Clurman
Ronald Rand as Harold Clurman Ronald Rand as Harold Clurman
Ronald Rand as Harold Clurman The Group Theatre
Ronald Rand as Harold Clurman The Group Theatre at Brookfield Center, Ct., 1931.
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