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True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor
Invent nothing, deny nothing, speak up, stand up, stay out of school. With these words, one of our most brilliantly iconoclastic playwrights takes on the art of profession of acting, in a book that is as shocking as it is practical, as witty as it is instructive, and as irreverent as it is inspiring. Acting schools, “interpretation,” “sense memory,” “The Method”—David Mamet takes a jackhammer to the idols of contemporary acting, while revealing the true heroism and nobility of the craft. He shows actors how to undertake auditions and rehearsals, deal with agents and directors, engage audiences, and stay faithful to the script, while rejecting the temptations that seduce so many of their colleagues. Bracing in its clarity, exhilarating in its common sense, True and False is invaluable.
This is an intriguing and thought provoking book. Definitely a must read for anyone who is seriously involved in the theatre. Mamet has a very anti-establishment point of view that challenges many ideas held dear by those of the theatre community. I disagree with quite a bit of what Mamet says, but he did make me re-evaluate some of my ideas. His assertion that he knows so much about acting is more than just a bit pretentious; he admits himself that he tried and failed to become an actor. And I find his insistence that actors stay out of school to be hypocritical since he opened his own acting school and he doesn't have a problem teaching. In spite of that this book is definitely worth the time spent with it.read more
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"The job of the actor is to communicate the play to the audience, not to bother it with his or her good intentions and insights and epiphanies about the ways this or that character might use a handkerchiefthese are the concerns of second-class minds." So writes Mamet, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, director and teacher in this extremely blunt, unorthodox and shocking treatise on the profession of acting. He remarks that "Stanislavsky was essentially an amateur" and goes on to attack method acting and its proponents. He challenges the performer to be a daring individualist by staying away from formal acting schools: "Part of the requirements of a life in the theater is to stay out of school....Formal education for the player is not only useless, but harmful." And he goes on to say, "Let me be impolite: most teachers of acting are frauds." Mamet stresses that there are no set rules and refuses to define what talent is: "I don't know what talent is, and, frankly, I don't care. I do not think it is the actor's job to be interesting. I think that is the job of the script. I think it is the actor's job to be truthful and brave." This controversial book will anger many in the profession but may also inspire because of its brashness and daring. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved