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Respect for Acting 2nd Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470228487
ISBN-10: 0470228482
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"Uta Hagen wanted us never to settle, period, to keep on endlessly exploring, digging deeper, and aiming higher in our scenes, in our plays, in our careers. Respect for Acting is not a long book, and with any luck, it will take you the rest of your life to read it."
David Hyde Pierce (from the Foreword)

Legendary actress and teacher Uta Hagen knew that an actor's finest work was often achieved for love rather than for money. She lived this philosophy alongside her husband, Herbert Berghof, at HB Studio, their acting school in New York. It was there that they created a workplace and spiritual home for actors such as Robert DeNiro, Jack Lemmon, Anne Bancroft, and Bette Midler.

Respect for Acting is Hagen's blueprint for the actor, her design for "enlightened stage acting." This classic book has helped generations of actors hone their craft, and its advice is as useful now as it was when it was first published. Hagen draws on her own struggle with the techniques of acting as well as her decades of teaching experience to break down the areas in which actors can work and search for realities in themselves that serve the character and the play. This approach helps actors to be specific in their actions in order to communicate an artistic statement. Hagen's instructions and examples also guide the aspiring actor through practical problems such as "How do I talk to the audience?" and "How do I stay fresh in a long run?"

Part One, "The Actor," deals with the actor's concept of him or herself, as well as techniques that set an actor in motion physically, verbally, and emotionally.

Part Two, "The Object Exercises," offers specific and detailed work for the actor, covering a broad range of problems and circumstances, from making an entrance to using the Fourth Wall.

Part Three, "The Play and the Role," covers how to approach the play and identify with the character the actor will undertake. It also shares practical thoughts and answers the questions young actors ask most.

Uta Hagen's influence endures in many of today's most compelling stage and screen performances. Informative and inspiring, Respect for Acting will bring her timeless techniques to actors and audiences for years to come.

From the Back Cover

Respect for Acting

"This fascinating and detailed book about acting is Miss Hagen's credo, the accumulated wisdom of her years spent in intimate communion with her art. It is at once the voicing of her exacting standards for herself and those she [taught], and an explanation of the means to the end."
Publishers Weekly

"Hagen adds to the large corpus of titles on acting with vivid dicta drawn from experience, skill, and a sense of personal and professional worth. Her principal asset in this treatment is her truly significant imagination. Her 'object exercises' display a wealth of detail with which to stimulate the student preparing a scene for presentation."
Library Journal

"Uta Hagen's Respect for Acting . . . is a relatively small book. But within it, Miss Hagen tells the young actor about as much as can be conveyed in print of his craft."
Los Angeles Times

"There are almost no American actors uninfluenced by Uta Hagen."
Fritz Weaver

"This is a textbook for aspiring actors, but working thespians can profit much by it. Anyone with just a casual interest in the theater should also enjoy its behind-the-scenes flavor."
King Features Syndicate

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 2nd edition (July 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470228482
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470228487
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is great, don't get me wrong. But her later book, "A Challenge For The Actor" takes everything of value in this book, elaborates on it, and adds oodles more information and insight (reflecting the author's own revising of her approach and methods over the years). Reading both isn't necessary; I would head straight for "...Challenge..."
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been acting for more than 7 years now. One of my degrees is in Theatre (Acting concentration) and I've performed dozens of play and films. This book wasn't a part of my curriculum but was suggested reading by a director of mine. I have never read an acting book with such depth and insight told in such a straightforward and brilliant manner. Uta Hagen has written what I constantly refer to as my "Acting Bible". Whenever I find myself in an acting rut, I pull out this book and read a few passages. I read that Mrs. Hagen had conflicting thoughts about the book later in her career and actually denounced it and released another book. I have not read that book, but I don't feel as though I have to.

As an actor, you can read hundreds of books about technique and exercises, but acting is an art of individuality. This book is not necessarily technique-oriented in the traditional sense, but rather provides a framework upon which an actor can build and refer to in their "bag of tricks".

I highly recommend this to any student of the art of acting.
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Format: Hardcover
For anyone interested in acting, Uta Hagen's, Respect for Acting, is a must read. Miss Hagen's sass and sense of humor really shine through in her writing style as she relates her own wisdom and solutions to challenges and pit falls that all actors make time and time again. This would be a most valuable selection to keep in one's library because of its invaluable knowledge coupled with witty anecdotes and easy-to-understand exercises. In tandem with Haskel Frankel, Hagen has created a wonderful map for the aspiring actor, and she portrays the journey to be an exciting one.
This book is a perfect starting point for anyone interested in pursuing acting in any form. It is simple and strait forward however it only scratches the surface. It is a fabulous predecessor for Hagen's second book, Challenge for the Actor. Admittedly, the exercises and techniques that are outlined in this book are difficult, and not for the faint-hearted. Someone not committed to really learning from them might find them silly or unnecessary. To keep the right mind set, Hagen would advise you to, "set your own goals, set them for your own approval." This advice is something I have truly taken to heart.
As an aspiring actress I truly enjoyed reading this book. Hagen's experience and renown may be impressive, but her words and insights communicate on a vastly more personal level. Many actors, young and old, would be doing themselves a disservice if they choose to ignore this book. Hagen makes a much needed to call to bringing back the innocence of acting and she has a genuine poise bringing it about. I for one can attest to the multitude of sleazy acting that Hollywood and even Broadway are producing these days, and to them I would recommend that they read this book.
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Format: Hardcover
This is only the second book on acting I have read so far, the first one being Boleslavsky's Acting: The First Six Lessons, so naturally I've been comparing the two a lot while reading. I love Uta Hagen's book stresses the craft part of acting with highly practical exercises. This is definitely in line with Boleslavsky who stresses that the art of acting cannot be taught but that techniques can be learned to perfect the tools of concentration, poise, and projection, to name a few. I have found both books really great preparation for my first workshop, which is coming up soon!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Utah Hagen's wonderful book "Respect for Acting" is a must read for any aspiring actor, director, producer ... anyone who has a commitment to live theater. This is the second copy of the book I have owned. I had lent my first copy which was unfortunately not returned, and I refer to this book often and share Hagen's inspiring insight with my casts. Had to order the second copy!
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By Brennan Tucker on September 20, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Even as a veteran actor I still found this book to be insightful and extremely clarifying for techniques in building character and emotional sensory work. A must have for any actor, be they budding or working in the business.
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By Anuj on April 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a must read and a must do!
Several times!
Every actor needs to read it and every other person interested in performing arts will benefit greatly from it too :)
Thank you Miss Hagen
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tons of people loved this book. I think this is a bunch of acting philosophy, with little help on measurable skills that you can weigh and then practice and weigh again to see improvement. I know what you're thinking, well acting is an art–you can't measure it. But I think you can. If not, then how do we all know bad acting when we see it? This book does not devise methodological self-improvement.
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