Sheana Ochoa’s Harold & Stella: Love Letters

By Erica Bennett

We all have teachers in our lives, teachers, who grab our imagination and never let it go. Few, however, offer up Imagination as The method for instruction. I was fortunate to have studied at the Stella Adler Theatre West back in the day before the Hollywood metro line took away the little theater that we built.

During that precious time of my youth I had the opportunity to bring up before Ms. Adler a scene from 27 Wagons Full of Cotton. Teacher Joanne Linville coached me in her inimitable fashion, and I’ll remember that night vividly for the rest of my life. I felt affirmed, finally, as an actress, affirmed publicly by the one of the greatest acting teachers of the 20th Century.

However, if you’re looking for the legendary post-Stanislaski Stella Adler as teacher, you won’t find her in Sheana Ochoa’s Harold & Stella: Love Letters at the Bliss Art House Café this week.

What you will find is arguably more enticing.

Applause Theatre & Cinema Books recently published Ms. Ochoa’s biography of Adler, Stella! Mother of Modern Acting (May 13, 2014), and she has produced this staged reading of love letters written in 1942 between the youthful Adler and director Harold Clurman.

In Love Letters, the energetic and earthy Clurman aches for Adler and the glorious Adler relays her love and expectations for Clurman, even as they strain to find direction in their theatrical lives, in this love letter to the art of theatre. I highly recommend it.

Bliss Art House Café 1249 Vine Street, Hollywood

Visit hollywoodfringe.org/projects/1654 for future dates and times.

2 Comments

  • By Robin Byrd, June 9, 2014 @ 10:22 am

    Really nice article, Erica. Would you say that being an actress has brought a certain insight to your writing?

  • By Erica, June 9, 2014 @ 1:06 pm

    Hi Robin! Thanks! Yes, absolutely, being an actress did inform my writing. I made it my mission, in fact, to write roles from woman because of it!

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