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Respect for Acting

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  1,729 Ratings  ·  81 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
Hardcover, 226 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by John Wiley & Sons (first published September 1st 1973)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jonathan Horn
Oct 18, 2015 Jonathan Horn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: artistic-vision
A readable, well-organized guidebook. A wee bit pretentious, but I sure want to work hard now!
Sep 25, 2008 Cassidy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: théâtre
This book turned the shy dreamer writer into the shy dreamer actor you see today!
Aug 05, 2012 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 15, 2011 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Magdalena Golden-Baran
Feb 26, 2014 Magdalena Golden-Baran rated it it was amazing
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
David Olsen
Apr 24, 2009 David Olsen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 29, 2008 Shannon Baxter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 31, 2015 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really interesting take on the process of acting--I will definitely have to reread, it was a pretty information heavy book.
Mar 31, 2008 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Lui Vega
Oct 11, 2016 Lui Vega rated it liked it
TERRIFIC acting advice couched in mediocre writing
Ashley !
Sep 16, 2016 Ashley ! rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars.
I had to read this over the summer because my acting coach recommended it to all of her students. I really enjoyed the beginning, and by beginning I mean the first chapter, but other then that I did not. I feel that she speaks as her word is fact. "We MUST," and "After that we HAVE to." I just feel that it's her opinion and interesting as it is, it's just her OPINION! I feel that when she goes into her processes she becomes one of those teachers you hated having in school where they t
Sep 19, 2016 Gracie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inspiring and encouraging, as well as full of tools, this book is a great place to start for the actor. Although Uta and I do not agree on everything, she has provided a great toolbox for the actor to use to constantly and continuously develop his/her craft... Uta Hagen greatly encourages this work of ever-improving.

It was nice having a short and sweet book to read, but Ms. Hagen could've added more detail. However, I have heard that her other book, [A] Challenge for the Actor, makes up for it b
Sep 21, 2016 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
I was required to read this book for my Acting Class (College) and LOVED it!

It is a great book to help you really get into a character and understand the 'becoming' process.

This would also be a useful book for someone who is writing, to help them flesh out their characters.
Mar 20, 2015 Algernon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theatre
This is the rating of the book alone, as a book: not the author or her worth as a teacher. Uta Hagen was a celebrated actor and a beloved teacher based at the HB Studio in New York for a long time. This is the first of her two books, and ironically her best known although two decades after writing this one she wrote a second book, A Challenge For The Actor, with more emphasis on action as the expression of the character. For its time (early 1970s) the book is a bold statement about the artistry ...more
Apr 20, 2010 B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 08, 2013 Peter rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 29, 2010 John-Nathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art, self-help, nonfiction
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'
Dec 06, 2015 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Uta's occasional (or not) pretentiousness aside, her tone is full of enthusiasm. As intent as she may seem upon making her techniques clear, I see her overall objective as encouraging deeper thought for acting, and in doing so, generating greater respect for the craft. So while I may disagree with some of the finer points, I can't help but appreciate the effort and passion. I've found it helpful to treat this book not as an Acting Bible as some would seem to encourage, but rather picking and cho ...more
Aug 24, 2012 Neil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 11, 2015 Terry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: beginning actors
Recommended to Terry by: Sol Acting Academy
A fascinating take on acting for the beginning actor. Although Hagen focuses on stage productions, they are strong parallels with movie or TV productions, so this is well worth reading. Just in the introduction, she quickly dispelled my illusion that training comes from actually performing. it is not "sink or swim," because people do drown that way.
I only found one problem, and that was that she admonishes the actor to not polish their lines with all the right pauses and inflections and gestur
Oct 22, 2012 Harry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 22, 2014 Brynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Annie H
May 19, 2014 Annie H rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Chance Dudley
Jul 16, 2016 Chance Dudley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Got this book because it's one of the required readings for my acting fundamentals class and I was not disappointed. I thought it would be just as bland and any other "textbook", but I wouldn't even consider this book one. It's more of a handbook, containing many useful concepts, comparisons, and exercises for actors all over. I look forward to applying what I learned from this book on the college stage. For those aspiring to be on stage, whether it be the school stage, community stage, or off-o ...more
Mike Tracy
A basic advice handbook for actors. It feels a bit archaic but it's well-written and moves along and a fairly good pace. Like so many how-to books, it's best use is to help build enthusiasm for the craft. I'll bet she was a great teacher. There are some helpful pieces of wisdom here: locating oneself in the space, character objectives and some hints about tackling the problems of memorization, among these. It would be wonderful to be able to return to Ms. Hagen, now, forty years later and get a ...more
Feb 23, 2012 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 10, 2014 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 01, 2010 Patty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
I appreciate how this book is meant to teach anyone to act. It isn't only for people who are already good at it. Her tone was a wee bit pretentious sometimes and it was a little bit boring in the beginning but I like its basis. 3 stars because I had to read it for a class, and it was kind of a pain in the ass. But it was a good book and I did enjoy it.
Sep 12, 2016 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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“Keep pace with the present. Take a trip to the moon. envision the future.” 9 likes
“The continuing job of learning to find out who you really are, of learning to pinpoint your responses—and even more important, the myriad, consequent behaviorisms which result—will help you begin to fill your warehouse with sources upon which to draw for the construction of a character (the new you selected for your character on stage).” 2 likes
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