Men in White was a triumph and in time won the Pulitzer Prize. It gave the Group its first great success and the members a long flow of full salaries. With this sudden affluence, sixty dollars per week, I made investments, not in stock and bonds but in lessons for myself. I had to be ready for any role. I believed I could do any part.
The members of the Group took the success of Kingsley's play in a characteristic way. It made them look down on the bourgeois critics, who'd praised the work, even more than they had before and provided them with even more intense reasons to scorn our middle-class audience. They didn't think more of the play because the theatre was packed eight times a week or of its author because he was wearing laurel. They believed that the style of Lee Strasberg's production and their own ensemble playing had provided Sidney Kingsley's bone-bare text with what it didn't deserve. All this reached Sidney, who resented it.
(2) In his autobiography Elia Kazan described Harold Clurman's method of directing.
I learned from Harold that a director's first task is to make his actors eager to play their parts. He had a unique way of talking to actors - I didn't have it and I never heard of another director who did; he turned them on with his intellect, his analyses and his insights. But also by his high spirits. Harold's work was joyous. He didn't hector his actors from an authoritarian position; he was a partner, not an overlord, in the struggle of production. He'd reveal to each actor at the onset a concept of his or her performance, one the actor could not have anticipated and could not have found on his own. Harold's visions were brilliant; actors were eager to realize them. They were also full of compassion for the characters' dilemmas, their failings and their aspirations.
In 1947 Elia Kazan, Robert Lewis and Cheryl Crawford founded the Actors' Studio, the home of the "Method". Only later did the Studio take in Lee Strasborg, who had been one of Kazan's early teachers (as well as a spiritual opposite) at the Group Theatre. But the Actors' Studio style would prove enormously influential in its stress on inner truths to be mined by the actor - indeed, it was a method that made a cult of the brooding actor, turning him from professional interpreter to creative genius (for good and ill). More than that, its hunger for intimate behaviour worked even better in movies than on stage.