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Respect for Acting

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  2,368 ratings  ·  106 reviews
At the invitation of Herbert Berghof, Uta Hagen joined the faculty of the HB Studio in 1947. Since then, teaching has always been a challenge for her, as well as for the many prominent actors whom she has helped to develop. For many years, she has been asked to write a book. Now, here it is: an account of her own struggle with the techniques of acting and based on her ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published September 15th 1973 by Wiley Publishing (first published September 1st 1973)
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Average rating 4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,368 ratings  ·  106 reviews

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Cassidy Barnes
Sep 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: théâtre
This book turned the shy dreamer writer into the shy dreamer actor you see today!
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jonathan Lien Horn
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
A readable, well-organized guidebook. A wee bit pretentious, but I sure want to work hard now!
Nov 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 28, 2015 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
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
Magdalena Golden
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
May 26, 2018 rated it liked it
So what did I think of this book? It was an interesting read. Uta clearly has some brilliant ideas on acting. But I found the book dated and hard to relate to. Uta Hagen was born in 1919. She was most famous for The Seagull, which she did in 1938, A Streetcar Named Desire in 1947 and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf in 1962. For young people today she could be a contemporary of Shakespeare. Her writing style is old and dated. Don’t get me wrong, my favorite book was written in 1961 and is as ...more
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, non-fiction, 2018
Good basic instructions on acting technique from one of Broadway's leading actresses. Ms. Hagen is noted for her "Nine Questions" exercise in defining one's character. Many of the directors I've worked with assign this exercise as preparation for a role. Reading about the exercise from the source and seeing how Ms. Hagen developed and refined this exercise in her own career is invaluable. I'm sure I'll come back to this book time and time again.
David Olsen
Apr 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
Really interesting take on the process of acting--I will definitely have to reread, it was a pretty information heavy book.
Mar 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
E.H. Nolan
May 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
For the actor who is serious about his or her craft, this is a well-written and inspiring self-help book. I categorize it as a self-help book because when an actor works on his craft, he is simultaneously getting to know himself on a new level.

This is not the kind of book that sounds like the author spoke into a tape recorder for an hour. Split into three sections—The Actor, The Exercises, and The Role—Uta Hagen has obviously taken her decades of experience and carefully crafted her wisdom for
Carolyn Page
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theatre
Okay, so how do I write a review for this? "Respect for Acting" teaches respect for acting--both for the layman to understand what goes into a good performance, and for the actor who doesn't bear their craft the proper amount of respect necessary for their own development. I read this as a layman a few years ago, and now I'm reading it as an amateur actor. The exercises are valuable--as a matter of fact, the whole way of looking at it--the particularization, the 4th wall, the entrances, the ...more
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was incredible! I can't say I'm hugely interested in stage acting, although acting and performing in general has always interested me, but the contents of this book really changed my life.

To sum it up, the two most important things I learned were that I need to be brave socially and genuinely be myself in order to ever be a good actor, and also to be brave in daily life and what I allow myself to experience. I've sort of gotten comfortable in my routine and personality, and I've just
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this book for my Theatre Arts Advanced acting class in high school, we read one chapter a week, and I absolutely treasured this book. It became our bible for theatre. Lol. Anytime we needed answers to improve our acting it was in the book. What's funny is that if I didn't read a week in advance whatever questions I had about a character or emotion I was portraying would be there. This book is great for any actor/actress. Beginning or expert, Uta Hagen shows you how to keep your passion ...more
Bridget Claire
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: required-reading
Uta was such a fascinating woman and a great acting teacher. In high school, I used to watch Uta Hagen's Acting Class in my own acting class and learned a lot from her scathing comments on scenes. Her book was no different, part memoir, part instructional handbook. Her style of realism and honesty in acting is what I strive towards. Very helpful and reflective to read and work with this semester.
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
100% recommend for anyone who wants to improve their acting skills or just develop a deeper understanding of drama! Uta Hagen does an amazing job with writing this book, analysing all the various aspects of theatre concisely but covering all the most important points. I know I have a lot of work to do after reading this!
Momontho Monmoy
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Her Passionate Writing Will Teach You a Lot

The undiluted raw opinions of this great teacher have immense value for an actor. Never settling for the cheap, for the cliche and respecting the craft are what she wanted for actors. The successor "A Challenge for the Actor" is a must read too, where she goes into much detail in explaining her techniques.
Shawn Mcdowell
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Respect for acting

This is a wonderful book on acting that I have read so far and I am glad that I did as it has helped me in my magic career. I highly recommend that anyone who is looking to improve their performance than this book is for you.
Salem Rogers
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The best book on acting that I, at least, have read. Uta Hagen is funny, accessible, and brilliant, and it’s great to have an acting book that blends exercises with philosophy. Would highly recommend to anyone interested in the performing arts, no matter their level of involvement.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A highly regarded treatise on acting methodology.
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Must-read for every actor.
David Bush
Jun 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Respect for Uta Hagen's approach to acting.
Julia Marie
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you plan on acting anytime in the future, READ THIS BOOK! It is full of great exercises and advice. It is also set up in a digestible and concise fashion.
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great introduction and guide to practical techniques for acting. Very useful for actors, but also very useful for writers wanting to work on character development.
Zach Waddington
Enjoyed it throughly! Great use of research for my various essays and portfolios for my recent project In LIPA! Better at the start than at the end but I believe that was the subject matter.
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Me & Uta go way back. I love and use so many of these tenets and practices.
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