Sammy's Reviews > True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor

True and False by David Mamet
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's review
Aug 31, 2007

liked it
bookshelves: c-the-okay
Read in August, 2007

So, I wasn't too impressed with David Mamet here. I think he should just stick to (screen)plays and fiction and leave the acting lessons to others. Though he does reinstate the phrase: Those who cannot do, teach. He does humbly acknowledge this, though, in the very first chapter.

As an actress I found that most of the book was either reiterating things I already knew, or badmouthing things I have done (i.e. going to school to study). I didn't really take anything away from reading this and found my mind often drifting away. I often had to go back and reread what I had just read because I honestly didn't remember having read it. Even so, Mamet did make some very valid points throughout the book. The overall statement pretty much being: don't over think, don't over analyze, just do! Which is the most important thing an actor needs to remember.

Once again, I believe I've said all I need to say. For the new actor I think this book is a good one to pick up, but don't make it your bible. Despite Mamet's bashing of the institution you need to remember that school can teach you different methods and styles of acting, giving you a variety of skills to fall back on. The new actor should never push themselves into a corner of one style of acting. As for the older actor (i.e. one who has been studying/acting for a while) Mamet's book may not be the new lesson you're looking for. Though if you're familiar with the playwright and curious to hear what he has to say about those he writes and directs for, the book won't let you down.

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