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A Challenge For The Actor

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  460 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Theoretically, the actor ought to be more sound in mind and body than other people, since he learns to understand the psychological problems of human beings when putting his own passions, his loves, fears, and rages to work in the service of the characters he plays. He will learn to face himself, to hide nothing from himself -- and to do so takes an insatiable curiosity ab ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 21st 1991 by Scribner (first published 1991)
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Film Directing Shot by Shot by Steven D. KatzWriting & Selling Thriller Screenplays by Lucy V. HayA Dream of Passion by Lee StrasbergRebecca by Jennifer Leigh WellsRespect for Acting by Uta Hagen
Acting and Cinema
17th out of 49 books — 16 voters
The Technique of Acting by Stella AdlerOn the Technique of Acting by Michael ChekhovThe Stanislavski System by Sonia MooreAn Actor Prepares by Konstantin StanislavskiActing Class by Milton Katselas
Best Acting Books
23rd out of 32 books — 21 voters

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Community Reviews

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Feb 16, 2009 Jil rated it liked it
Recommends it for: theater theorists, the thinking actor
Recommended to Jil by: Connie Crawford
Shelves: school
I think what Uta Hagen had to say here could have been said in an essay rather than a 300-page book. And from what other actors have told me, Hagen already said much of this in Respect for Acting anyway, but better. Regardless, I do not think I will be reading Hagen's other work, because I'm pretty sure I already understand her gist.

I'm sure Hagen is a great actress, and a great person. The respect she has for the theatre is admirable, and I appreciate that she tries to get actors to push themse
Feb 02, 2011 B rated it really liked it
I wish Uta Hagen was still alive. I want to go to her house and watch her sit in her favorite seat and smoke ciggarettes with her and ask her a million questions about how the hell she can be the most self aware actor ever without also being the most self concious actor ever.

This book is a bit more helpful than her previous acting book, but it still begs many questions. I would be her most annoying student contstantly poking my hand up into the air, “But Mistress Uta!” Hm. I wonder what student
Feb 28, 2008 Alison rated it liked it
Recommends it for: actors
Recommended to Alison by: HB Studio
Even though I haven't been acting for years sometimes I'll do some of these exercises when I'm bored and I'm waiting for someone. They're all about going inside yourself and observing your behavior and then naturally replicating in in front of an audience.
Cassidy Liston
Apr 06, 2012 Cassidy Liston rated it it was ok
This book could be condensed down to a couple points that are easy to explain. It's about two hundred pages too long. Also it's very dense and poorly written.
Jacob Anderson
Sep 20, 2014 Jacob Anderson rated it really liked it
I ended up skimming a lot towards the end because the advice gets very repetitive (the book could be much more concise), but Uta provides lots of examples from experience and well-known plays to feast on upon future revisits.
Apr 12, 2010 Patrick rated it it was ok
Little in this book that I hadn't learned elsewhere... and while it's possible that the other authors were only recycling her main points, I think they did it better, without overly dramatic language and periodic complaints about the present state of acting. Guh.

I agree, it should have just been an essay.
Aug 13, 2008 Benaboo rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: actors/actresses
Recommended to Benaboo by: played a Beatles record backwards; it recommended this book
Uta Hagen clarified and revised the ideas presented in "Respect for Acting". If you had to choose between them, get this book. She teaches people to act by using their own life experiences. This book contains plenty of acting exercises that can be done alone.
Raquel Rial
Apr 20, 2014 Raquel Rial rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone working in the field of performing acts.
Shelves: theatre
"Creo en la inmortalidad del teatro. Es el escondite más dichoso para todos aquellos que han guardado secretamente su infancia en el bolsillo y se han ido con ella a jugar hasta el fin de sus días".

- Max Reinhardt.

El Carpe Diem del actor.
Ming Siu
Nov 10, 2013 Ming Siu rated it liked it
It does clarify some of her concepts in her previous book, but it's rather repetitive and wordy. The ideas are remarkably intuitive, but it's tough to unearth them from beneath all the rambling sentences.
Nov 12, 2007 Jordan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theater
Excellent! Very inspiring with plenty of excersises. Though it has a different title it is basically a revision/update of the book Respect for Acting.
Mark Woodland
Jul 28, 2011 Mark Woodland rated it it was amazing
Follow-up to Respect for Acting, and lives up well to its title. Again, not a technique, style, or training guide, but a way to view the art.
Antonia Marrero
Feb 15, 2008 Antonia Marrero rated it it was amazing
Just Wonderful!! Very informative, helpful and smart. I will certainly be able to apply my new found knowledge to my own work.
Oct 18, 2007 K. rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A rehash of Respect for Acting. I prefer the earlier book, but both are helpful.
Alex Murphy
Jun 01, 2011 Alex Murphy rated it it was amazing
Uta Hagen is a genius. Every actor should be required to read this text.
Tracy Morton
Oct 28, 2011 Tracy Morton rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Great exercise for actors of every level
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  • The Art of Acting
  • To the Actor
  • Sanford Meisner on Acting
  • Building a Character
  • Audition: Everything an Actor Needs to Know to Get the Part
  • A Practical Handbook for the Actor
  • Acting: The First Six Lessons
  • Actions: The Actors' Thesaurus
  • Acting for the Camera: Revised Edition
  • A Dream of Passion: The Development of the Method
  • The Intent to Live: Achieving Your True Potential as an Actor
  • Freeing the Natural Voice
  • Acting in Film: An Actor's Take on Movie Making
  • The Empty Space: A Book About the Theatre: Deadly, Holy, Rough, Immediate
  • The Power of the Actor
  • A Sense of Direction: Some Observations on the Art of Directing /
  • How to Stop Acting
  • Playing Shakespeare: An Actor's Guide

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“It must be noted that it is often the colleague or direct disciple of a new thinker who gets stuck in literal interpretations of the work, tending to freeze the new ideas and language into an inflexible, static condition.” 3 likes
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