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Respect for Acting

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  2,589 ratings  ·  117 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, 240 pages
Published September 15th 1973 by Wiley Publishing (first published September 1st 1973)
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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  2,589 ratings  ·  117 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. ...more
Daniel Summerstay
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: acting
Like other books I've read on acting, I enjoyed the lyrical, beautiful style with which this whole books was executed as much as I enjoyed the practical instruction it communicated. I read this book on my own, and worked through all the object exercises on my own, and I felt that they likely would have been more useful as Hagen originally employed them: in a classroom with presentation and criticism. That being said, I fully intend to repeat the exercises on my own. When I first got this book, I ...more
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!
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
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
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
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
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, 2018, non-fiction
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. ...more
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!
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. ...more
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.
Alejandro Sanoja
Mar 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a birthday gift from my friend José V. Garza. Thank you, José!

As I've been getting obsessed about improv comedy (it started as a way to get comfortable with speaking in English and it transformed into a passion), I've been having a hard time finding resources to improve on the "acting" component of the performances... until I read this book.

I've learned that is a highly recommended book within the acting community and it delivered. Not only it has a mindful approach but it also shares
Ian Dawson
Nov 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I first heard of Uta Hagen years ago while watching an interview with actor David Hyde Pierce (Niles on the TV series, Fraiser). He worked under her and praised her passion for acting and her teaching abilities. I bought two of her books, and finally sat down to read one of them, and I really found her insights into acting fascinating.

What Hagen give the actor the ability to give their characters dimension and to live their characters' lives beyond the scope of the play's story. She believes, an
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
Alex Hare
Apr 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Very solid guidebook articulating Uta Hagen's Stanislavski-derived approach to acting. She proselytizes on behalf of truth and honest physical action with admirable consistency (truly -- watching the highly entertaining documentary about her acting class, I was struck by how much of what she taught and told her students came near-verbatim from this book, written thirty years prior). The object exercises themselves are clever and useful.

It's interesting to read it and consider the ways it reflec
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
Carolyn Page
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 subs ...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 b
Jul 27, 2020 rated it liked it
I thought it was really interesting to start with but in the end I was just fed up. I'm not an actor, I just enjoy theatre. It was good to get an insight to how she does it but to be perfectly frank, I disagree with a lot of the advice given here. And it seems to be more for what the actor gets out of the method rather than what the audience gets out of it. Which is fine, it just seems a bit self-indulgent. The book also felt long winded and repetitive. If it had been condensed to about half the ...more
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. ...more
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.
Cas ❦
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!
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.
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.
David Bush
Jun 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Respect for Uta Hagen's approach to acting. ...more
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Me & Uta go way back. I love and use so many of these tenets and practices.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A highly regarded treatise on acting methodology.
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