During down periods here is a great reading source from some of the most prolific and groundbreaking teachers of the art of acting.
Over my 35 years of acting and director and teaching. These are some of the favorites that have been recommended and I’ve collected over the years and are now recommended reading for my classes.
1. Meisner on Acting” by Sanford Meisner
Sanford Meisner was one of the best known and beloved teachers of acting in the country. This book follows one of his acting classes for fifteen months, beginning with the most rudimentary exercises and ending with affecting and polished scenes from contemporary American plays. This book is structured as “IF” you were in class week-to-week with Meisner himself. It is a Great book for anyone wanting to understand the value of his method. This is a must read in your library.
2. Intent To Live- by Larry Moss
This book is mandatory reading in my class.
Larry is one of my teachers and a great book filled with the techniques from Stella Adler. He goes over the “Nuts and Bolts” of craft of acting, Stresses objective and intentions and actions and the importance of Physicality and script analysis and open voice. It’s informative, witty and filled with great anecdotes. A must have if you plan to study with him.
3. Audition” by Michael Shurtleff
Being I teach an audition tech class, this book is mandatory reading in my class.
One of those books usually found on most actor’s shelves. A staple for many.
It has been around for over 30 years and I consider this one of the best guidebooks for any actor at any level.
It is structured on how to scaffold a scene using his famous 12 guidepost or 12 things to ask yourself while crafting choices. From Relationship to Event (why the scene is there and how there’s more to the story). It works beautifully for stage, tv & film acting.
4. Acting The First Six Lessons by Richards Boleslavsky
This was one of my first books recommended to me over 35 years ago.
Boleslavsky was a renowned actor and a director. He was a member of the Moscow art theatre and a leading Hollywood director. The book is broken down into 6 lessons – 1 lesson per chapter like how Shurleff’s book Audition is structured – 1 guidepost per chapter. It covers many things, from concentration to rhythm and observation, just to name a few. It’s straight forwardness and clarity is essential for any book on acting.
5. “Respect for Acting” by Uta Hagen
This is definitely on every actor’s shelf or should be. It is simple and straightforward, Uta Hagen’s book has helped generations of actors hone their craft. She introduces series of exercises to help the actor connect to the moment, fellow actors, and the audience. “Who am I?” “What do I want?” and “What is my relationship?” are three of the nine questions explored. I like to call the questions ”What questions actors need to be concerned with”
6. “An Actor Prepares” by Constantin Stanislavsky
Referred to as “method acting,” “An Actor Prepares” includes a variety of exercises and some autobiographical experiences that focus on relaxation, concentration, and techniques that will help get the actor into character. Emotional memory and the “magic if” explored in his book laid the groundwork for much of the great acting today.