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Lee Strasberg and Morris Carnovsky

Ralph Steiner, 8 Feb 1899 - 13 Jul 1986
Morris Carnovsky, 5 Sep 1897 - 1 Sep 1992
Lee Strasberg, 17 Nov 1901 - Feb 1982
Gelatin silver print
Image: 24.3cm x 19.1cm (9 9/16" x 7 1/2")
Sheet: 25.2cm x 20.1cm (9 15/16" x 7 15/16")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
© Estate of Ralph Steiner
Object number
Exhibition Label
Ralph Steiner, whose evocative photographs often present an unusual vantage point, photographed the director Lee Strasberg (right) and the actor Morris Carnovsky (left) from above, following one of their rehearsals at the Ethel Barrymore Theater in New York City. In March 1936, Strasberg, of the Group Theatre, directed the play The Case of Clyde Griffiths, by Erwin Piscator. In this adaptation of Theodore Dreiser’s novel An American Tragedy (1925), Carnovsky played the important and complex role of the Speaker. The exact words exchanged during this semi-private interaction are unknown to us. However, during rehearsals, Strasberg explained the role of the Speaker as “the soul of the people—he feels everything the people feel but with full consciousness.” These brief lines provide a window into the conversations between director and actor while underscoring Strasberg’s immersive “method acting,” in which he asked his actors to embody their roles.
Ralph Steiner, cuyas evocadoras fotos suelen presentar inusuales ángulos de cámara, retrató al director Lee Strasberg (derecha) y al actor Morris Carnovsky (izquierda) desde arriba, luego de un ensayo en el Teatro Ethel Barrymore de Nueva York. En marzo de 1936, Strasberg, cofundador del Group Theatre, dirigió la obra teatral The Case of Clyde Griffiths, de Erwin Piscator. En esta adaptación de la novela de Theodore Dreiser An American Tragedy (1925), Carnovsky interpretó el esencial y complejo papel del narrador. No sabemos qué se dijeron en este aparte, pero en el ensayo Strasberg había explicado el papel del narrador como “el alma de la gente, siente todo lo que siente la gente, pero con plena consciencia”. Estas breves palabras abren una ventana hacia la conversación entre el director y el actor a la vez que subrayan la “actuación de método”, técnica inmersiva de Strasberg, quien pedía a sus actores sumergirse en sus personajes.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
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On View
NPG, North Gallery 220