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Respect for Acting

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  1,233 ratings  ·  62 reviews
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...more
Hardcover, 226 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by John Wiley & Sons (first published September 1st 1973)
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This book turned the shy dreamer writer into the shy dreamer actor you see today!
A brilliant director I was working with introduced me to this book and it has served as a foundation for my theatrical endeavors ever since. “Respect for Acting,” by Uta Hagen is exactly what it sounds like; it teaches respect for acting. Hagen who has graced the Broadway stage and film as a performer, was also an acclaimed acting coach. Some of her former students include; Jack Lemmon, Robert DenNiro, Liza Minelli, Whoopi Goldberg, and Al Pacino. Along with brilliant credentials, Hagen provides...more
David Olsen
In my opinion, to make it short and sweet, this is the best damn book EVER written on acting. Uta = goddess of acting. Her other book is equally as good, and perhaps a bit more polished since it was written later in her life, but this one was the foundation of all her teachings at the HB Studio in NYC. Read it and weep, actors!
Shannon Baxter
This is a great book for those serious about acting. Uta Hagen offers an in-depth perspective on how to deepen the connection between the actor and the stage, other actors, and their craft. The book includes excercises the actor can perform on their own or with others.
The "method" explained in understandable terms by a great acting teacher. She was my teacher and when I teach, I use this book as an important resource. If you are even considering being an actor, you should read this.
Uta Hagen has some good advice. I can't say this was a page-turner, but if you're in the craft, it's got some good bits of insight.
Annie H
I picked this up at a friends house. Since the dust cover wasn't on, I didn't actually know what it was about until I got a bit in. I thought it might have been about character development or maybe the history of theatre. Both acting and writing are topics I am interested in, so I had to get a copy from the library. :)

Uta focuses on something that is important in both creating a character and becoming a character; humanity. All characters are people, first and foremost. The world in which they l...more
This is one of those books that I wish I had read 10 years ago and yet I picked it up at the most appropriate time to guide me through figuring out the most difficult role I've had to play yet. Her chapter on emotion has been invaluable. She reprimands the "modern" actor so effectively too! (This book was written in the 70s, but everything is still perfectly usable. When it feels dated is in the language of the decade and then it only serves to endear me towards her more.) I loved getting a good...more
I have not read many books but this one got me started. Even though I have a deep desire to learn about acting, Uta Hagen Respect for Acting book is extremely boring. I rushed through the book in 6 days because I had no idea what to expect. I expect to read the book again later to see if I feel different about it. The read was pretty easy but after I finished I learned that the reading was boring, specially compared to the book I am reading now. The book is set up in many chapters that have spec...more
I just picked this book up again last week and skimmed. I was amazed at how thoughtful, and insightful, and objective this book is on how to make an artform that conveys subjectivity; she gives the objective means to effectively, realistically, convey.

Nuts, and bolts, and screws, and lumber, and roofing; she teaches how to build a moment and sustain that moment with, "where are you now, where have you been, where are you going." I found the exercises to be wonderful blue prints for "how to." It'...more
This is worth reading for any actor wishing to seriously engage with the work of acting, and I recommend it highly but with three caveats. First, the examples are dated and if you're not at all familiar with the plays of the mid twentieth century, you won't get them. Second, if you're mostly performing the repertoire of the small local theater scene, comedies, musicals, and other light fare, then some of Hagen's message will have limited utility. Third, you'd probably get more out of this if you...more
Magdalena Golden-Baran
This is only the second book on acting I have read so far, the first one being Stanislavski's An Actor Prepares, so naturally I've been comparing the two a lot while reading. Although Uta Hagen's approach is definitely in line with Stanislavski's method, the book itself is very different. I love how she stresses the craft part of acting. Not that Stanislavski's book doesn't cover it as well, but in much less detail and I found "Respect for acting" to have a highly practical and no-nonsense feel...more
In 2004 we lost such a great actress that helped so many actors, including me, to become free and truthful on stage. Her book is my acting bible and I refuse to apply to any other method or system even though her technique does branch and make references to Stanislavski e.c.t If parts get confusing for the actor beginning with the arduous process of bringing life to the stage then watch her DVD Master Class and that really puts her whole concept into order. Love it. Love it. Love it. Anyone seri...more
This is a great textbook for anyone studying or teaching acting. More than anything, it sets for a logical, orderly way to gain prowess in an art that can seem so vague and bewildering. why are some actors better than others? Is acting a "gift" or a craft that can be learned? Hagen is firmly in the latter camp, and provides experst insights into the mystery. At the same time, she sets a very high standard for working hard, in as detailed a way possible - making a case for the fact that it all ma...more
Aleigha Spinks
The best fucking acting book out there. As amazing the 3rd time reading as the 1st. TRUST!
Michelle Bizzell
Overall, a pretty good resource for acting advice. has some great exercises to work on by yourself it you aren't in a show.
I would just to make it clear before anyone wants to buy this book, it's for theatre!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hagen discusses a particular style of acting which is very detailed and thorough, so it's not directed at amateur actors as much as professionals. I didn't finish the book, but the good deal that I read showed that it would be a valuable book to have on your library to remind you of some of the essentials of good acting.
This book does assume some knowledge of acting, plays and terms. I did know some but I was missing some too. As such I am giving 4 stars because I haven't been able to decide if the advice is good or not. I will re-evaluate next month after completing an acting class.

I am also reading a few if the plays missed like Hedda Gabbler to help decide things that were used with it as t.
This is one of my "Bibles." Uta Hagen is brilliant in the way she explains things, and her stories are always fascinating. This book was my first introduction to analyzing "representational" acting as opposed to "presentational." There's an excellent discussion on "sense memory." A must-read for actors of all ages.
Uta Hagen's thoughts on the acting process are inspiring and enlightening. She has some very practical (and essential) advice for actors of all levels and a philosophy about acting that I wish more of us adopted early on in this career path. Well worth reading if you are an actor, or someone interested in the acting process.
Even though I'm not an actor, I loved this book. It gives tons of technical advice, some of which I admit went over my head -- and at the same time, it's philosophical and inspiring. Much of the book can be applied to any art form. I suspect I'll be thinking about this book when I write, especially for the stage and screen.
Tom Auclair
I'm new to the acting game, so I asked some more veteran actors what books I should be reading. Along with Stanislavski's "ABC" books, this book was mentioned. I've been doing a lot of things on stage with some justification, others not so much. It was nice reading this book to get a good grounding in acting theory.
Best acting book, ever! The only one I actually read & that says a lot, because as much as I love reading & as much as I love acting, I do not love reading about acting. Hagen is clear and insightful and as instructional as an acting book can get. I'd give it 10 stars if I could. It's a must have for any actor.
The classic- "and still Champeen!"- of all acting guides. Required reading (literally, for me as an undergrad student) for anyone in the business. Teaches you how to deconstruct and reconstruct your entire part while keeping your head in the game. Exercise, anecdotes and sage advice all contained within.
Mar 24, 2013 Nico rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Actors
Recommended to Nico by: John Kirby
Uta Hagens Respect For Acting, is an essential necessity for an actor like me to solve problems on the stage, get work ethics down, and rethinking different methods of acting. I recommend this book for any actor. I haven't finished it because every time I re-read it again, I learn something new!
A great book about being honest when you're not being yourself, about opening your heart, mind and ears while in character. It contains mostly very practical advice but it's somehow still frightening even to think about employing it, which, I think, makes it great and worth following.
Aliyana Samenova
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Francisco Acosta
Excellent book. It really helped me think of acting methods and preparation in a new light.
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A Challenge For The Actor Uta Hagen's Acting Class: The DVDs A Challenge for the Actor The Other Sources: A Memoir

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