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Truth: Personas, Needs, and Flaws in The Art of Building Actors and Creating Characters Hardcover – February 6, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 301 pages
  • Publisher: Rugged Land; First Edition edition (February 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590710533
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590710531
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,099,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

From the introduction by Nicole Kidman

I first met Susan Batson in New York just a week before I made Peacemaker. We worked together in earnest for two years on Eyes Wide Shut in London and on every film I've done since, wherever they've taken us. This book you hold is called Truth, and that title precisely describes the core of the work Susan Batson and I do together.

I can't create unless I have truth--I have to feel it. Susan helps me to find the truth in myself and use its purity, intimacy, and honesty to make my work real. She's helped me to nurture and protect truth in myself and in the characters that I've played. What I've learned from Susan is how to keep the truth alive no matter what. There's so much more to acting than just creative success. It runs thicker and deeper than that. It has to--it's in my blood, it beats through me. I know that it's in Susan's blood, too. I feel like we've been together my whole life.

A great teacher can make anything seem possible. So many of the actors I've admired and idolized and, in a few lucky instances, been blessed to work with, were shaped and inspired by teachers who opened them to the possibilities of their art. Among actors, Lee Strasberg, Sanford Meisner, and Jeff Corey are just as legendary as their pupils Marilyn Monroe, Robert Duvall, and Jack Nicholson. I am confident that Susan Batson will go down in history as one of acting's legendary teachers. I only hope that my work can contribute to her legend.

I'll always be grateful that I found her. And now, through this book, you've found her, too.

About the Author

Actor, writer, director, producer, teacher, and coach Susan Batson has been called a "technician of the spirit" by the New Yorker. In private consultation on film sets all over the world, and in her New York- and Hollywood- based Black Nexxus acting studios, Susan Batson has enjoyed the privilege of working with Nicole Kidman, Juliet Binoche, Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Rock, Jami Foxx, Sean Combs, Liv Tyler, Jennifer Connelly, and countless other actors searching for truthful connections between themselves and the characters that they play. Nicole Kidman, who has worked closely with Susan for more than twelve years, hails her as a uniquely insightful acting coach with "a hell of a lot of pure talent," while Oscar winner Juliet Binoche praises Susan's ability to "shake you like a tree and get the fruits down." Susan Batson was publicly thanked by Kidman during Kidman's post-Oscar-win press conference for The Hours, and by Tom Cruise in his Golden Globes acceptance speech for Magnolia.

Born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, Susan Batson began her lifelong excursion into the art of acting at Adele Thane's Boston Children's Theater. She graduated from Emerson College's Theater Arts Program and received a John Hay Whitney Fellowship to study with Lee Strasberg, Uta Hagen, and Herbert Berghoff in New York. She was in the original cast of Hair and became a protege of theater legends Joe Papp and Harold Clurman, a member of the Actor's Studio, and a recipient of a New York Drama Critics Award, an LA Drama Critics Award, and an Obie. Susan Batson has consulted with writer/director Spike Lee on several of his films and was a producer of the hugely successful Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun, starring Sean Combs.

Susan Batson has been profiled in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, and Backstage.


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Susan Batson is BRILLIANT!!
DeAnna Dawn
As a working actor, I've continually been on the search for practical techniques to help me build characters and breakdown scripts.
J. Liu
I am enjoying this book very much!
Tanea

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dog Loving English Prof on July 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Brilliant, generous, unique teachers have the potential to change a student's life. Rarely does a student (or even reader) have the sheer luck to come across a teacher who possesses it all: a "coach" with the unique ability to be sensitive to each individual's particular needs; a mind like a steel trap (with an expansive body of knowledge, references, and even more important, real-world experiences unmatched by her competitors; an almost altruistic sense of service and generosity to one's "students" (students in life and in acting); and of course, a no-nonsense backbone that kicks a novice in the pants when s/he needs it, but just as easily provides a hug (or money for dinner) when s/he needs that, instead.

Nicole Kidman is exceptionally successful as an actor, so it's fitting that her words grace this book's Introduction. But anyone who has ever met Ms. Batson or had the great fortune of knowing/studying with her personally knows firsthand that the kind, flattering, almost hyperbolic description provided by Kidman is completely accurate. The heart, wisdom, humility, and power that define Ms. Batson, as well as what she provides to those lucky enough to learn/have learned from her in person, seems to be as meaningful to Oscar winners (Kidman, Juliette Binoche, etc.), as to the hundreds of anonymous actors and former actors to inhabit her classrooms.

Buying/possessing this book is a good idea for anyone concerned with "truth," anyone with a penchant for the performing arts, or really, anyone interested in the important, sometimes painfully difficult art of introspection and living life more authentically.

As a former acting student of Ms.
Read more ›
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tye Cure on February 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Susan Batson's book 'Truth' is amazing! It is the best book on acting available today. Ms. Batson follows a long line of prodigious acting teachers, Lee Strasberg, Sanford Meisner, breaching today's world with an amazing grasp of the technique of acting and its history. Her mastery of the craft of acting is genius. She is the ONE modern teacher to follow if your dream is to work in the world today as an actor. This book is a revelation on the craft of acting and creating characters. Susan is a master teacher with a firm hold on the jugular of today's film world. Susan is behind some of modern cinema's most truthful performances. She is the creative force behind a power house acting studio, Black Nexxus, located in LA and New York. Buy it and change your life!
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33 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Tom Connolly on May 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I wonder what Adele Thane would think of Ms Batson's combination of psychotherapy and "laying on of hands"? (I was in Miss Thane's theatre too). Note Batson's stable of stars: Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, Chris Rock, Madonna, and Sean Combs--among other worthies. Imagine any of them in a play? Try hard, here's what you might find if you talk to anyone who was there: people only recall that Nicole Kidman took off her clothes on stage in "The Blue Room"; Sean Combs almost single-handedly dragged down all the other performances in the stage revival of "Raisin in the Sun." Madonna in "Speed the Plow"? if you sat beyond the second row you wouldn't have known she was on stage. Ms Batson talks about the dreaded phenomenon of "personality"--hmmmm what do all of her charges have in common? Could they be Hollywood STARS trading on that element of personality they possess? She retails the anecdote about hours of "the work" she and Nicole Kidman put into a multi-page monologue during "Eyes Wide Shut." After the crew applauded, Kubrick said "great--wrong movie." In short, all that "work" was irrelevant to the performance. Not to Kidman, of course, to her it was vital. This sums up the speciousness of this whole approach. This self-indulgent, internalized, aesthetic masturbation matters only to the cult of true believers who write checks to their guru and then feel better about themselves. Of course it also matters to the guru who cashes the checks and reigns over them. Really though, this is not much different from a personal trainer or dietician, or any other of the hangers-on who latch on to movie folk.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DreamBee on February 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book is a true gift to this art!!!!!!!! FANTASTIC!!! "By using Need, Public Persona and Tragic Flaw an actor can make any character reach any audience, regardless of language, era, theme or style. the actor who masters these three dimensions of character becomes equipped to create life out of a script." Susan Batson
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Format: Hardcover
Best book on acting I've ever read... (and I've poured through Stanislavsky and more modern texts) It would be wise to study with Susan Batson... Either way, read her book. Buy this book for anyone interested in acting, theater, and life itself. The tools she offers for acting, are useful for living authentic lives and up to the ancient command "know thyself."

forever,
Annie

Annie Lanzillotto
author of "L is for Lion: an italian bronx butch freedom memoir" SUNY Press
and "Schistsong" BORDIGHERA Press

www.annielanzillotto.com

L Is for Lion: An Italian Bronx Butch Freedom Memoir (SUNY series in Italian/American Culture)
Schistsong (Via Folios)
Blue Pill
Carry My Coffee (Live)
Eleven Recitations
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