By Melissa Bruder, Lee Michael Cohn, Madeleine Olnek, Nathaniel Pollack, Robert Previtio, Scott Zigler, David Mamet

ISBN-10: 0394744128

ISBN-13: 9780394744124

6 operating actors describe their tools and philosophies of the theater. All have labored with playwright David Mamet on the Goodman Theater in Chicago.

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Extra resources for A Practical Handbook for the Actor

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This knowledge is his technique. Acting is living truthfully under the imaginary circumstances of a play. It can be broken down into two areas: action and moment. Action is what you go onstage to do, the physical process of trying to obtain a specific goal, often referred to as the objective. Moment is what is actually happening in the scene as you are playing it at any given instant. Ideally, every moment of a play is based on what has happened in the moment preceding it. Acting then is dealing truthfully with the other actors onstage in order to pursue a specific goal.

HARRIET: Mn-hmm. Always buy a little something to make me feel good. PETE: The boss held my check back, you know. HARRIET: Poor thing! Why? PETE: Er, trouble with serial numbers or something—I don’t know. HARRIET: Why, come on, I’ll take you out to dinner. PETE: No, that’s okay, I couldn’t— HARRIET: Well, we could make dinner at my apartment. PETE: No, I can’t, Harriet. Actually, I was hoping you could lend me forty dollars. If you wish, you can write in your analyses below: Pete Harriet 1. 1. 2.

To do the latter you must learn to recognize and act upon the truth of the moment, or that which is actually happening in the scene as you are playing it. An actor can very easily set in his mind exactly how a scene should be played. This is not the purpose of text analysis, nor is it desirable in terms of execution. The difficulty of executing an action lies in dealing with that which is actually happening in the other person. You can’t execute your action in general; you must stay in tune with the responses you are receiving.

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A Practical Handbook for the Actor by Melissa Bruder, Lee Michael Cohn, Madeleine Olnek, Nathaniel Pollack, Robert Previtio, Scott Zigler, David Mamet


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