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Book Review: a Practical Handboook for the Actor

  • Submitted by: aschenbroedel
  • on November 24, 2012
  • Category: Arts and Music
  • Length: 515 words

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A Practical Handbook for the Actor

For my assignment in this class I read the book „A Practical Handbook for the Actor” by Melissa Bruder et al. that introduced me to a new way to approach acting. The book basically says that everybody can act by using the presented acting tools and putting practise and hard work into his or her craft.
What you usually hear from actors is how they “get into character”, how they try to understand every aspect of his actions and how they are sometimes unable to let go of the world of their character. This book explicitly tells you not to do that, as you are not supposed to feel like the character, but rather help to tell his story. I liked how the book takes away the myth of the character, which is just an illusion, created by the script and there to analyse.
It is essential for the actor to find a suitable action he can follow trough in a scene on stage. It must have a goal he can work towards.   To be able to choose such an action, the actor must practise a lot and learn how to analyse a scene correctly.
A good analysis is the basis to find an action that brings a scene to live. The book presents three questions you apply on a character’s action in a scene so you can find a physical action you want to use in it. The “As If” question helps you to relate to the action on a personal level that keeps you involved in the scene. You are supposed to leave the fictional pages of the play behind and find something you can apply on an as-if, that is acceptable and engaging for you. You don’t have to emotionally prepare yourself, as you don’t have any control about your feelings. I think that this kind of sets you free from trying to feel like the character and just do and act in a way that is acceptable for you and doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable. I often tried to set myself in the emotional state of the character, but failed because I felt embarrassed and didn’t believe myself. I definitely find the techniques and tips of this...

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