By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.


The Method: How the 20th Century Learned to Act

February 22, 2022 at 5:30pm7:00pm EST

Newhouse 3, Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium

This event has already occurred. The information may no longer be valid.

Author and journalist Isaac Butler of Slate explores how the “The Method” approach to stage performance in the early 20th century revolutionized the art and created a new template for the emerging film format. Eric Grode, director of the Newhouse School’s Goldring Arts Journalism and Communications Program, moderates.

Within the space of 40 years in the early 20th century, centuries’ worth of accumulated stage performance conventions were all but jettisoned as Stanislavski’s controversial “system” of acting morphed into a more psychologically and emotionally informed method known as, well, “The Method.” Its reverberations—with an increased focus on self-analysis and interiority at the expense of fidelity to cherished artistic standards—can be felt in virtually every major Western art form of the period, from Abstract Expressionism to bebop jazz to realist fiction.

In this public talk with Q&A moderated by Grode, Butler explores how this new approach revolutionized the act of stage performance, created a template for the then-new format of film and offered a new creative vocabulary to artists across a wide array of fields. At the same time, the Method created its own new set of conventions, which themselves have been contested, and Butler will discuss this paradox.

Butler is a journalist, podcast host (Slate’s “Working” and “Lend Me Your Ears”), theater director, and author of “The World Only Spins Forward” and the forthcoming “The Method.”

(Photo by Adalena Kavanagh)

This event is part of Syracuse Symposium’s year-long series on “Conventions.”

Learn more

This event was first published on October 22, 2021 and last updated on October 29, 2021.

Event Details