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A Practical Handbook for the Actor Paperback – Unabridged, April 12, 1986
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Top Customer Reviews
On the night before I was to act in the first presentation of my final scene, I picked up my old copy of A Practical Handbook for the Actor. Suddenly everything I had been taught in class made sense. The book brought into relief all the effective aspects of the Meisner approach while trimming the nonsense. I stayed up till 2 a.m. analyzing my scene according to the guidelines in the book.
The next day, December 7, 2000, I performed my first real piece of acting. I was powerful, alive, and in some small degree even knew what I was doing. I scared myself I was so good. Following the book's directions, I dispensed with "emotional preparation" and just silently told myself before the scene started what I would do. Emotional prep never worked for me, but by telling myself what I would do I was nearly quaking with rage. During the scene I was free to perform without worrying about whether I was getting it right. I didn't try to be emotional, yet the feelings poured out, just as the book said it would. Hallelujah!
A Practical Manual is one of very few books on acting that is worth reading. (Acting One by Cohen is another.) It packs more wisdom and common sense than books many times its length. I've read it twice and will probably read it again. (I find myself extrapolating its ideas into playwriting as well.Read more ›
This book pulls the veil away. While I don't necessarily advocate relying ONLY on this resource (instinct, other techniques, etc., should all be in an actor's bag of tricks), this book provides clear, actionable directions on how to achieve more specificity in your choices as an actor, how to make your characters more focused, and how to deliver more compelling performances. Based on Stanislavsky's method, the book advises embodying each line with action (and tells you how), LISTENING to your stage-mates, and thinking about the physicality of a role (and tells you how).
What I like best about this book is that it breaks something complicated, like rendering a complex character, down into manageable things you can do to get yourself there as a performer. Bravo!
I had the privilege of studying under one of the contributors of this book, Scott Zigler - and have used this book long after my university days were over.
This short, concise, easy-to-implement acting guide transformed acting from an awkward, synthetic emotional experience into a tangibly real, physical action. I HIGHLY recommend this text for anyone involved in theater performance, direction, or production. Bravo, Melissa Bruder and others!
The best thing about this book is that it is a handbook, not a rule book. No matter what your training is, you will find this book helpful in the begining stages of working on a text from the actor's viewpoint.
I use this book for myself and whenever I teach at the Seattle Children's Theatre and have yet to know of anyone's discontent.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great resource for the beginning or intermediate actor looking to dig into what it means to choose an "action."Published 2 days ago by Matt
Absolutely terrific way to look at acting. It has a wonderful mix of both the Stanislavsky and Meisner techniques in one. Definitely recommend!!!Published 5 months ago by Levin
Overly complex and excessively methodical, but not uninteresting.Published 5 months ago by Jane Avrich
Succinct and to the point. Bruder Writes a phenomenal guide that reminds those who have had formal training in acting, or can guide the aspiring layman in how to approach a role. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Matthew T. Smith