I reviewed this series on the page for the first book: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... It's my intention to convince you to read this series.I reviewed this series on the page for the first book: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... It's my intention to convince you to read this series. It is possible to start with this book (book two), if you wish. Book two was my favorite in the series, followed by book three. I'm looking forward to forthcoming volumes!...more
This is the base technique (PA) I personally use for both acting and directing. PA is also helpful to screenwriters, and very accessible to actors andThis is the base technique (PA) I personally use for both acting and directing. PA is also helpful to screenwriters, and very accessible to actors and directors who are also writers, and any creator who is text-based in their approach. I.e. You love to read and/or write fiction? This is the technique for you. Oh you're more STEM logical and read mostly nonfiction? This is also the technique for you. You get the idea. PA cuts through the woowoo "acting is magic" bullshit and gives you a real, grounded, text-based process you can work. There is no mystery involved, and yet that doesn't reduce the space for your imagination at all.
Is PA accessible to teens and students? Yes. I first read this workbook before the screening interview required to study at Atlantic, and more actively in the actual class while studying PA/scene study with Lee. A brief demo of the technique from The Atlantic will make what's on the page much more obvious and accessible, so for new performers I recommend looking for that access in some form. It's possible there is video of a basic Atlantic workshop available online if you look. Since the pandemic they have expanded their online offerings. The first workshop I attended was directed by Lee, Huffman and Macy, and they cut to the chase. It took maybe twenty minutes of demo with actors to see what they were doing and why it works. If you are in LA or NYC, you should be able to find an in-person event. Acting classes are expensive, so it makes sense to get a workshop-taste of what you'll be studying. So yes I do suggest finding a way to see what's in the book applied to live scene study. If you aren't from a major entertainment city, then it can be difficult to figure out a path to developing your craft, so I hope this insight is helpful to someone. I also want to encourage amateurs and readers who don't intend to pursue a professional career in the arts. Acting, like sports and music, is not just for pros! You can absolutely take beginning workshops in scene study, improv, etc..
To bring things back to teens and students, I would love to see high school programs engage in more concrete technique and dramatic scene study vs nebulous theater games that, while part of the process, don't equate to technique. I'd love to see them shift away from mostly focusing on musicals for their production programming. High school students who select theater as an elective or club shouldn't be graduating without a firm grasp of PA technique. But that said, it's not as if PE classes teach students the fundamentals of different skills and sports (throwing a softball, shooting a basketball, kicking a soccer ball, passing a volleyball), and I think that's sadly comparable to suburban and rural theater programs. Most students' skills are coming from coaching outside of school. Everyone else in the class just kind of moves around and tries to pick up the game. But it needn't be that way.
As for pros, as our careers progress, creators tend to experiment with different techniques and develop our own unique approaches. Sometimes techniques become fashionable and go in and out of style, even. PA is more grounded than that, and has longevity, but, that said, different techniques work for different creators. However, one key thing about PA that I don't think applies to other techniques: Every actor and director should at least be aware of how PA technique works, even if they don't use it as their personal foundation.
As a sidebar, I wish The Groundlings had a handbook like this for their improv technique: one written by a group of their earlier burgeoning master teachers/working actors. It lives in every student's early notes, but has never been pulled together like this.
And finally, there's one more group that should read this book and take at least one PA course: film, television and stage critics. Enjoy!...more