counter create hit A Practical Handbook for the Actor - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

A Practical Handbook for the Actor

Availability: Ready to download

6 working actors describe their methods and philosophies of the theater. All have worked with playwright David Mamet at the Goodman Theater in Chicago.


Compare

6 working actors describe their methods and philosophies of the theater. All have worked with playwright David Mamet at the Goodman Theater in Chicago.

30 review for A Practical Handbook for the Actor

  1. 4 out of 5

    Linawings

    One quote from this book reveals what is the meaning of acting to me "If you intend to manipulate, to show, to impress, you may experience mild suffering and pleasant triumphs. If you intend to follow the truth you feel in yourself - to follow your common sense, and force your will to serve you in quest for discipline and simplicity - you will subject yourself to profound despair, loneliness, and constant self-doubt. And if you persevere, the Theatre, which you are learning to serve, will grace One quote from this book reveals what is the meaning of acting to me "If you intend to manipulate, to show, to impress, you may experience mild suffering and pleasant triumphs. If you intend to follow the truth you feel in yourself - to follow your common sense, and force your will to serve you in quest for discipline and simplicity - you will subject yourself to profound despair, loneliness, and constant self-doubt. And if you persevere, the Theatre, which you are learning to serve, will grace you, now and then with the greatest exhilaration it is possible to know. "

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Short

    This book is a good example of the benefits of reading outside your concerns. I'm often delighted to find tips and solutions in places where I wasn't looking for them. I certainly found some useful bits for writing from the descriptions of action and the techniques of analyzing a scene. I also found useful tips for developing concentration, how to treat other people, get along with them, and work together toward a larger goal. If we read thoughtfully, we can find applications beyond the immediat This book is a good example of the benefits of reading outside your concerns. I'm often delighted to find tips and solutions in places where I wasn't looking for them. I certainly found some useful bits for writing from the descriptions of action and the techniques of analyzing a scene. I also found useful tips for developing concentration, how to treat other people, get along with them, and work together toward a larger goal. If we read thoughtfully, we can find applications beyond the immediate setting.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Zanna Frith

    Ok, so don't believe everything you read but this is certainly a great start to understanding the technique of Practical Aesthetics. Ok, so don't believe everything you read but this is certainly a great start to understanding the technique of Practical Aesthetics.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tola

    One of the best acting books I've read in a while. C One of the best acting books I've read in a while. C

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sam Figura

    Such a helpful book! This is my third time rereading it, and I can't express how much it's helped my acting. Highly recommend it to any aspiring actor! Such a helpful book! This is my third time rereading it, and I can't express how much it's helped my acting. Highly recommend it to any aspiring actor!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kermy

    In the final analysis I don't know how practical this book really is for the actor. The whole notion of constantly trying to break a scene down into actions (good) and then come up with analogies in one's own life to relate to those singular actions is tedious, and begins to resemble the very same methody hokum that the book purports to get away from. Definitely worth a read but the Mamet school of acting desperately tries to avoid the problem of emotion in a way that perhaps overcomplicates an In the final analysis I don't know how practical this book really is for the actor. The whole notion of constantly trying to break a scene down into actions (good) and then come up with analogies in one's own life to relate to those singular actions is tedious, and begins to resemble the very same methody hokum that the book purports to get away from. Definitely worth a read but the Mamet school of acting desperately tries to avoid the problem of emotion in a way that perhaps overcomplicates an already complicated problem.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sofia🍃

    This is a very good book that explains how to act very clearly! The examples are great and I really feel like this method is something that isn’t super hard to learn and will really work.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    I read this as a corollary to Shawn Coyne's The Story Grid, and his application of this process to Austen's Pride & Prejudice (Story Grid Edition. I appreciated that this work is brief and to the point. I can see how these acting tools can be inverted/applied in writing. Not the answer to everything, but useful. I read this as a corollary to Shawn Coyne's The Story Grid, and his application of this process to Austen's Pride & Prejudice (Story Grid Edition. I appreciated that this work is brief and to the point. I can see how these acting tools can be inverted/applied in writing. Not the answer to everything, but useful.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    A must read for anyone in the arts!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    I really like this acting book. It’s very short, simple, and useful. While it might not equip the actor to deal with every challenge they will encounter, I believe the basic technique of scene analysis they outline will serve actors well in approaching any text-based performance. I trained with a teacher who believed in many of these ideas, and after spending some time with this action and reality of the moment oriented technique, I have come to believe this is an effective approach to acting. I I really like this acting book. It’s very short, simple, and useful. While it might not equip the actor to deal with every challenge they will encounter, I believe the basic technique of scene analysis they outline will serve actors well in approaching any text-based performance. I trained with a teacher who believed in many of these ideas, and after spending some time with this action and reality of the moment oriented technique, I have come to believe this is an effective approach to acting. I would recommend this book to any actor and am assigning it to my acting students. With that said, I do have a few issues with it: -The introduction by David Mamet is ridiculous. I don’t appreciate how he trashes a bunch of other acting training exercises and refers to these teachers as fraudulent. It is especially egregious that he describes holding other methods of acting in contempt as a symptom of the approaches to acting training he criticizes, when he is doing exactly that in this introduction! I also disliked his style of writing wherein he attempted to describe his experiences as if they were mine (“You have...”) this stylistic approach rubbed me the wrong way. Perhaps more importantly though, I have a fundamental disagree with the core idea - that some methods of acting are superior to others. No. There is no one way (or “right” way) to act or train actors. Some methods and tools will be more effective for specific actors than others, but just because the mirror exercise or “hearing the music with your toes” didn’t do anything for Mamet, doesn’t mean it might not do something for others. -Similarly, the authors like to use words like “must” a lot. This implies there is only one right way of doing things. I’m not a huge fan of this. -The book uses terminology that may differ from the terminology many actors will be familiar with. To a certain extent, this is unavoidable. But using a term like “action” to mean “objective” (and “through-action” or “through-line” instead of “super objective”) seems like a bit of an odd choice and runs the risk of creating confusion in the minds of inexperienced actor or students who may be used to different terminology. -This book frequently makes use of the outdated and patriarchal convention of making use of masculine pronouns in a universal way (as if “he” meant “all humans”). It’s not a super contemporary book, but some readers may be confused and believe the ideas contained in this book only apply to men. Additionally the subtle implication of using masculine pronouns as the default pronoun is that men are the default people. I doubt this what the authors meant, especially the women authors, but it is nevertheless a dated and problematic element. -Finally, the book makes reference to a number of plays without necessarily giving a lot of context about those plays. They’re all old (duh, it’s an old book), and there isn’t a lot of diversity reflected. Despite these shortcomings, I nevertheless believe this book is meritorious and offers a lot to the actor in a short page count. Read it, and then try applying these ideas to a scene, monologue, or role.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin

    I don't remember when I heard about this book or why exactly I got it -- I think I had some notion about needing to have a better handle on acting as I was gearing up to direct an improv show; and, of course, as someone who isn't an actor, I approached this material with a very particular stance. That is, this is a book for actors and so has warning about memorizing your lines with line-readings that might not be applicable in the moment; and a reminder that your character in a scene can only res I don't remember when I heard about this book or why exactly I got it -- I think I had some notion about needing to have a better handle on acting as I was gearing up to direct an improv show; and, of course, as someone who isn't an actor, I approached this material with a very particular stance. That is, this is a book for actors and so has warning about memorizing your lines with line-readings that might not be applicable in the moment; and a reminder that your character in a scene can only respond to the other character in the scene. Which, like, coming from an improv background is a real weird point because of course you do that. (Also fun crossovers: they discuss attention in a way that's a lot like mindfulness practice, i.e., your attention will wander, don't castigate yourself, just gently place it back where it should be; and their description of the heart of the scene -- your character wants something from another character -- is the foundation of the roleplaying game Hillfolk.) The foundation of this book is scene analysis, which is to take a scene and ask yourself: - what is the character literally doing? - what is the character's action (which is pretty close to physicalized intention, or goal)? - what is that like in your own life? In this model of acting, there's no real pretense to illusion -- you're not trying to convince yourself that you are really angry or happy or in love. There's just: what does this look like to the audience. It's very interesting, and I'll be curious to see how it impacts my non-scripted acting work (in improv and roleplaying).

  12. 5 out of 5

    Anne Teeling

    I really enjoyed this book. Their approach to acting consisted mirrors Mamet’s. Actors should be portraying the lines truthfully, focusing energy on the other character, and trying to accomplish a goal that makes sense within the context of the play. It laid out a simple structure to follow for scene analysis consisting of three questions. It walked the reader through examples, provided a space to try our own, and corrected examples that didn’t work. I appreciate the idea that spontaneity in act I really enjoyed this book. Their approach to acting consisted mirrors Mamet’s. Actors should be portraying the lines truthfully, focusing energy on the other character, and trying to accomplish a goal that makes sense within the context of the play. It laid out a simple structure to follow for scene analysis consisting of three questions. It walked the reader through examples, provided a space to try our own, and corrected examples that didn’t work. I appreciate the idea that spontaneity in acting is created by trying to achieve the goal of the scene and reacting to how the other characters respond. I have often found it difficult to “be sad” or play an emotion. This was helpful, and I will definitely reference it as I continuing acting!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lila

    THE TECHNIQUE? 5 stars. THE BOOK? 3 stars. this book is nicely concise~ it took me two days to finish. I am studying Practical Aesthetics under some graduates of the technique, which has evolved CONSIDERABLY since this book was published. However, the core principles remain the same: develop an “essential action” and an “as-if” and keep your focus on your partner. I love the emphasis on responding spontaneously to what your partner gives you; it takes the power away from self-conscious repetition THE TECHNIQUE? 5 stars. THE BOOK? 3 stars. this book is nicely concise~ it took me two days to finish. I am studying Practical Aesthetics under some graduates of the technique, which has evolved CONSIDERABLY since this book was published. However, the core principles remain the same: develop an “essential action” and an “as-if” and keep your focus on your partner. I love the emphasis on responding spontaneously to what your partner gives you; it takes the power away from self-conscious repetition or monitoring. This technique has been immensely helpful for me, and while the novel is a good starting point, seek out CURRENT practitioners of Practical Aesthetics to work with the updated technique.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Megan Miller

    Just, yes. So good. A graciously simple technique and approach to acting. Despite its simplicity, it is not easy. Hopefully I'll be able to work on this technique over the coming months and years and put it to my use. Favorite quotes were on page 75: "The reason great actors are so compelling is that they have the courage to bring their personalities to bear on everything they do. Don't ever play a part as someone else would play it. Remember that it is you onstage, not some mythical being called Just, yes. So good. A graciously simple technique and approach to acting. Despite its simplicity, it is not easy. Hopefully I'll be able to work on this technique over the coming months and years and put it to my use. Favorite quotes were on page 75: "The reason great actors are so compelling is that they have the courage to bring their personalities to bear on everything they do. Don't ever play a part as someone else would play it. Remember that it is you onstage, not some mythical being called the character." And "Reflect... on the words of Stanislavsky: 'The person you are is a thousand times more interesting than the best actor you could ever hope to be.' "

  15. 5 out of 5

    Thani Abuhamad

    I'm very impressed with how succinctly and effectively this book goes about delivering its intention! It is incredibly practical and down-to-earth with simple and clear instructions for how an actor should go about analyzing a scene and producing a character. I've often find myself quite cynical about the nebulous and abstract approaches to acting that are centered around contriving emotion. This book was an encouraging alternative; none of the techniques in this short reference guide can be cate I'm very impressed with how succinctly and effectively this book goes about delivering its intention! It is incredibly practical and down-to-earth with simple and clear instructions for how an actor should go about analyzing a scene and producing a character. I've often find myself quite cynical about the nebulous and abstract approaches to acting that are centered around contriving emotion. This book was an encouraging alternative; none of the techniques in this short reference guide can be categorized as esoteric in the slightest. Each piece of advice is pragmatic and intended to creating the most dependable results on the stage consistently.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nate Jenson

    I loved the book, partly because it's short and simple. The techniques are explained clearly. As for content, it makes sense, but I was listening to an audio book on acting over the same few days that I was reading this book. They have contradictory suggestions. That's fine, because everyone has their method and their own experience. In the end, I felt this gave me some great tools to be able to put into practice. I loved the book, partly because it's short and simple. The techniques are explained clearly. As for content, it makes sense, but I was listening to an audio book on acting over the same few days that I was reading this book. They have contradictory suggestions. That's fine, because everyone has their method and their own experience. In the end, I felt this gave me some great tools to be able to put into practice.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Chen

    I'm not an actor, but I'm working on a book where the main character is an actress. A beta reader suggested this book to me as a way to learn about the craft of acting. I found it super helpful, clear, and concise. I learned a lot and it had a lot of practical advice. It's a great guide, easy to read, and probably very useful for anyone who wants to learn how to act. (Or write about characters who are actors.) I'm not an actor, but I'm working on a book where the main character is an actress. A beta reader suggested this book to me as a way to learn about the craft of acting. I found it super helpful, clear, and concise. I learned a lot and it had a lot of practical advice. It's a great guide, easy to read, and probably very useful for anyone who wants to learn how to act. (Or write about characters who are actors.)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Wales

    A really interesting look at acting. I had to read it this past fall for a class and it was a valuable read. It was short and concise, saying only what it needed to and then moving on. I feel like this is a good handbook for any aspiring actors because it gives them advice they can actually understand and use versus vague advice from other people.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Less then 100 pages, but great concise advice are contained within. This little book goes over a method on how to analyze a character's actions within a script to bring an enhance the performance of an actor. Reading this will help me in the future develop believable and engaging performances in theatre. A good one to go back and refer to from time to time. Less then 100 pages, but great concise advice are contained within. This little book goes over a method on how to analyze a character's actions within a script to bring an enhance the performance of an actor. Reading this will help me in the future develop believable and engaging performances in theatre. A good one to go back and refer to from time to time.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    It's a good primer of the basics of script work mostly, as well as how to conduct oneself on a production. This book is about acting, not how to become an actor or work in the business. It's a good introductory skill book and good for brushing up on analysis techniques, but should be used as a supplement to other methods of education, and not the foundation of it. It's a good primer of the basics of script work mostly, as well as how to conduct oneself on a production. This book is about acting, not how to become an actor or work in the business. It's a good introductory skill book and good for brushing up on analysis techniques, but should be used as a supplement to other methods of education, and not the foundation of it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Never Stop Reading or Dreaming

    I think this is a good start and has a lot of good information in it... BUT look at the publication date. There are somethings in here that just don't apply that much anymore. But for the bare bones it's a great place to start I think this is a good start and has a lot of good information in it... BUT look at the publication date. There are somethings in here that just don't apply that much anymore. But for the bare bones it's a great place to start

  22. 4 out of 5

    Philip Clapper

    Had to read this for a beginning acting class. It's really good, but awfully short. I don't intend to become an actor, but I wish there were more information here. However, what is here is very well said and very useful. Had to read this for a beginning acting class. It's really good, but awfully short. I don't intend to become an actor, but I wish there were more information here. However, what is here is very well said and very useful.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hassan Zakeri

    A great read to enter the world of actors that guides one on leading them. This book is actually like class notes of David Mamet classes and productions in NY. What I like about it is its brevity and dense content.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sean G Calvert

    This is a really great reference for acting. I'm new to this discipline and have had some assumptions that were inaccurate, such as the weight that talent has vs. simply working hard and mastering skills. I'd recommend this to anyone looking to grow as an actor. This is a really great reference for acting. I'm new to this discipline and have had some assumptions that were inaccurate, such as the weight that talent has vs. simply working hard and mastering skills. I'd recommend this to anyone looking to grow as an actor.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jack Davidson

    *** Drake Theater BA *** Read this for my Acting I Class with Jason Bohon Fall 2014

  26. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    Simple, clear in to acting.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bree

    4.5/5 stars

  28. 5 out of 5

    Devyn Price

    Excellent book, not only for the actor, but for the writer who is looking to analyze a scene and portray the truth.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Harriet Butler

    Had to read for school — interesting techniques, a little hard for me to wrap my head around, not that well written imo

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Such a good go-to for acting skills. Very doesn't to Earth and logical. Such a good go-to for acting skills. Very doesn't to Earth and logical.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.