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Respect for Acting

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  2,227 ratings  ·  104 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 teac ...more
Hardcover, 227 pages
Published September 15th 1973 by Wiley Publishing (first published September 1st 1973)
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4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,227 ratings  ·  104 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
Ashley !
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 t
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 cho ...more
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 compe ...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
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 fo ...more
Ally Stephens
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Bible for Actors. My acting teacher was a huge Uta Hagen fan and he gifted me “Respect for Acting.” Uta Hagen is simply incredible. The woman knows her stuff. I love every single thing she has to say and think she truly is a work of art. She is an acting goddess and I will always look up to her. Her passion drips through the pages. This is a must read for any aspiring actor, director, theatre lover. Acting is a lot of discipline. Hagen does a great job of explaining techniques to help actors ...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.
Hazem Ali
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
خلصته من اسبوعين .. قريت كتب كتير عن التمثيل .. للاسف دة من اققلهم .. لان اى كتاب غيره كان فى شرح حقيقى و ممتع .. دى حسستنى ان عشان تتعلم لازم تتعب و تزهق و ف الغالب مش هتتعلم كتير عن اللى عارفه .. بس تمام يعنى ماشى .. شكرا يا استاذة اوتا هاجن على النصايح .. حسستنى ان ممثلة مش ممثل كل امثلتها مشاهد مش رجالة خالص ولا انا اللى بقيت ميسوجينى ربنا يستر
ازيك 2019
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.
Elena 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.
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fantastic resource and a must read for actors. So many new ideas, exercises and tips. Can't wait to use my new knowledge and re-read this again in the future!
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Must-read for every actor.
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.
Joshua Blair
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
An excellent classic on the art of acting.
Lisha Hackney
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the way Uta explained the preparation for the moment before you enter a scene or on stage!
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Elizabeth Petrucka
Respect for Acting by Uta Hagen. An amazingly helpful book that by the end, will make you have respect for acting. When most people think of acting they think of costumes, stage, makeup, Shakespeare, etc. But Uta Hagen takes you on a thrilling adventure and shows you that there is more to acting than memorizing lines, and standing on stage reciting them. There is so much depth to acting that you would miss if you did not read this book.
For example, Characterization, she talked about how acting
Oct 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
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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).” 3 likes
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