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A Practical Handbook for the Actor

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  573 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
6 working actors describe their methods and philosophies of the theater. All have worked with playwright David Mamet at the Goodman Theater in Chicago.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
ebook, 112 pages
Published April 25th 2012 by Vintage (first published April 12th 1986)
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Zanna Frith
Aug 04, 2007 Zanna Frith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, so don't believe everything you read but this is certainly a great start to understanding the technique of Practical Aesthetics.
Apr 08, 2014 Linawings rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Oct 19, 2015 Natalie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-school
For my acting class
Janne Varvára
Oct 06, 2011 Janne Varvára rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theatre-acting
My boyfriend, when ordering a useful book, orders a stack, so that, if it comes up in conversation that someone needs to read up, or needs a little help on something (be it cognitive therapy or the art of the theatre), he's good and ready to supply works of literature.

A few weeks back, right after we'd started rehearsing for Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, I ordered a bunch of books on Stanislavsky technique in a panic, also because this is a golden opportunity to learn to use it, but because the
May 14, 2010 Louis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would have to say that this is the Strunk and White of Acting. If you don't know what that is, it is a book to help you write more clearly.

This book is geared towards analyzing and properly determining how to get the most out of a scene in an organic way.

It also helps with what to do after you are asked to change or correct up by the director or because of other stimuli.

I will need to do further homework on breaking down scripts in order to better gain skill in using this handbook. Have star
Oct 11, 2015 Fredösphere rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a quick read and very helpful explanation of an approach to acting very much not of the Method school. Like all good approaches, the goal is emotional honesty, but it tries to achieve such honesty without emotionalism.

I chose to read this book under the impression it would serve well as a guide to writers as well as actors, and I can confirm it does. The authors assert that any scene can be analyzed as described. I doubt if that is strictly true. I suspect any scene in a competently
Jan 01, 2013 Travis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This unassuming little tome is the best book I've ever found on the subject of acting. This is essentially the Meisner technique distilled through David Mamet and presented to the actors in workshop form. But you don't have to worry about all that. Just know that this is a book you can pick up and implement immediately. The principles, however, go deep and take time to master.
Kevin Powe
Sep 10, 2016 Kevin Powe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: acting
Short and sweet. Some good practical advice within. Encourages actors to stay away from creating a facsimile of an emotional result, focusing instead on intent and physical action to produce an ultimate outcome. Also encourages a focus on the performance as a product for an audience rather than self-indulgence of the actor, which is a good point to keep in mind.
Silvia Campos
It's a small light read, with some great information, though if you take the course- there have been slight updates.

I will say I learned more about the Mammet method now, and I believe I am more of a practical aesthetics actor than a method.

I can't really compare this since I am a novice at this type of method. Updates to follow... but so far very fulfilling and exiting :) !
Oct 18, 2013 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-theory
David Mamet was right, this is the most important acting book in the last 20 years. This book is a breath of fresh air, because as I grow as an actor I'm finding myself growing apart from The Method...Something I once admired and relished has become dizzyingly tired and worst of all useless.
Sep 18, 2012 Josie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good advice, but a bit dated and dry. I enjoyed it because I'm a geek, but I wouldn't actually recommend it.
Feb 11, 2011 Shayla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this for my college class and found it to be very helpful. Here's hoping I pass the class!
Apr 26, 2011 Charles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theatre
A must for those involved in theater and film, Turn practice into action, comentory on the "methods", Very usable.
Henry Barry
Feb 02, 2015 Henry Barry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: misc-nonfiction
A very good and very short look at the craft of acting. There isn't much else to say, other than I wish it had been a little longer since I enjoyed it so much.
Every practising actor should read this. I only found it a bit dull because I read it at the end of my college program so I had already learnt it all over the course of the past two years. =)
May 15, 2013 Jackeline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Wonderful book on the practical aesthetics technique! Useful for beginners and professionals alike. Highly recommended.
Apr 18, 2012 Sonya rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teaching-acting
Has some redeeming points, but really fairly difficult to teach basic acting from.
Unclear terminology - confusing to students.
Riteshsingh Bayas
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Technique theatre 1 2 Jun 12, 2014 05:19AM  
  • A Challenge For The Actor
  • The Intent to Live: Achieving Your True Potential as an Actor
  • Acting: The First Six Lessons
  • Audition: Everything an Actor Needs to Know to Get the Part
  • Sanford Meisner on Acting
  • To the Actor
  • Acting in Film: An Actor's Take on Movie Making
  • Building a Character
  • How to Stop Acting
  • Freeing the Natural Voice
  • True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor
  • Backwards and Forwards: A Technical Manual for Reading Plays
  • Acting for the Camera: Revised Edition
  • The Art of Acting
  • The Power of the Actor
  • Voice and the Actor
  • Self-Management for Actors: Getting Down to (Show) Business
  • Being An Actor

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