Group Theatre at Brookfield

Above: One of the informal classes held at Brookfield Center, Connecticut, in the summer of 1931.  

By the end of their summer together, this collection of acting enthusiasts would call themselves the Group Theatre and will introduce U.S. culture to what will be termed “the Method.” My book project explores the Method less for its intrinsic properties (i.e., what it is) and more for the construction of its identity through myriad producer-text-reader relationships over the course of twentieth century U.S. history (i.e., what it does).  I examine the forces at work in these contextually-specific forms of reception and argue that “the Method” serves as an invaluable “idea” through which the cultural work of revising white masculinity and reinforcing white male exceptionality is performed yet obscured by Method actors’ axiomatic alignment with rebellion and progressive politics.