While contemporary American culture may be fixated on youthful sex appeal, the truth is that the most complex and interesting characters in dramatic literature have been (and still are) those over 40 years old. Whether it's Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof or Halie in Buried Child or Eve in The Good Body, the richest characters are those over 40, whose wealth of experience often helps little when it comes to making the difficult decisions. This volume will mine the deep and fertile vein of world drama (with an emphasis on lesser-known contemporary work) as it relates to monologues for mature actors. The result is certain to be a surprising and enriching one for both the dedicated professional and the inquisitive amateur.
Your one-stop classical workshop At last, over 175 of Shakespeare's finest and most performable monologues taken from all thirty-seven plays are here in two easy-to-use volumes (Men and Women). Selections travel the entire spectrum of the great dramatist's vision, from comedies, wit and romances, to tragedies, pathos and histories. Soliloquy is an excellent and comprehensive collection of Shakespeare's speeches. Not only are the monologues wide-ranging and varied, but they are superbly annotated. Each volume is prefaced by an informative and reassuring introduction, which explains the signals and signposts by which Shakespeare helps the actor on his journey through the text. It includes a very good explanation of blank verse, with excellent examples of irregularities which are specifically related to character and acting intentions. These two books are a must for any actor in search of a 'classical' audition piece.'- Elizabeth Smith, Voice Director, Juilliard
Arthur Miller decided to become a playwright after seeing her perform with the Group Theater. Marlon Brando attributed his acting to her genius as a teacher. Theater critic Robert Brustein calls her the greatest acting teacher in America. At the turn of the 20th century - by which time acting had hardly evolved since classical Greece - Stella Adler became a child star of the Yiddish stage in New York, where she was being groomed to refine acting craft and eventually help pioneer its modern gold standard: method acting. Stella's emphasis on experiencing a role through the actions in the given circumstances of the work directs actors toward a deep sociological understanding of the imagined characters: their social class, geographic upbringing, biography, which enlarges the actor's creative choices. Always "onstage " Stella's flamboyant personality disguised a deep sense of not belonging. Her unrealized dream of becoming a movie star chafed against an unflagging commitment to the transformative power of art. From her Depression-era plays with the Group Theatre to freedom fighting during WWII, Stella used her notoriety as a tool for change. For this book, Sheana Ochoa worked alongside Irene Gilbert, Stella's friend of 30 years, who provided Ochoa with a trove of Stella's personal and pedagogical materials, and Ochoa interviewed Stella's entire living family, including her daughter Ellen; her colleagues and friends, from Arthur Miller to Karl Malden; and her students from Robert De Niro to Mark Ruffalo. Unearthing countless unpublished letters and interviews, private audio recordings, Stella's extensive FBI file, class videos and private audio recordings, Ochoa's biography introduces one of the most under recognized, yet most influential luminaries of the 20th century.
"Invaluable."--Deborah Tannen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of You're the Only One I Can Tell and You Just Don't Understand Alan Alda has been on a decades-long journey to discover new ways to help people communicate and relate to one another more effectively. If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? is the warm, witty, and informative chronicle of how Alda found inspiration in everything from cutting-edge science to classic acting methods. His search began when he was host of PBS's Scientific American Frontiers, where he interviewed thousands of scientists and developed a knack for helping them communicate complex ideas in ways a wide audience could understand--and Alda wondered if those techniques held a clue to better communication for the rest of us. In his wry and wise voice, Alda reflects on moments of miscommunication in his own life, when an absence of understanding resulted in problems both big and small. He guides us through his discoveries, showing how communication can be improved through learning to relate to the other person: listening with our eyes, looking for clues in another's face, using the power of a compelling story, avoiding jargon, and reading another person so well that you become "in sync" with them, and know what they are thinking and feeling--especially when you're talking about the hard stuff. Drawing on improvisation training, theater, and storytelling techniques from a life of acting, and with insights from recent scientific studies, Alda describes ways we can build empathy, nurture our innate mind-reading abilities, and improve the way we relate and talk with others. Exploring empathy-boosting games and exercises, If I Understood You is a funny, thought-provoking guide that can be used by all of us, in every aspect of our lives--with our friends, lovers, and families, with our doctors, in business settings, and beyond. "Alda uses his trademark humor and a well-honed ability to get to the point, to help us all learn how to leverage the better communicator inside each of us."--Forbes "Alda, with his laudable curiosity, has learned something you and I can use right now."--Charlie Rose
This simple and essential book about the craft of acting describes a technique developed and refined by the authors, all of them young actors, in their work with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet, actor W. H. Macy, and director Gregory Mosher. A Practical Handbook for the Actor is written for any actor who has ever experienced the frustrations of acting classes that lacked clarity and objectivity, and that failed to provide a dependable set of tools. An actor's job, the authors state, is to find a way to live truthfully under the imaginary circumstances of the play. The ways in which an actor can attain that truth form the substance of this eloquent book.
Witty and sophisticated, a brilliant dramatist and a charismatic actor, the multitalented Noel Coward was one of the most colorful personalities who ever strode across the stage. These diaries chronicle the last 30 years of his life, from his wartime concert tours through his private and professional depression in the 1950s to his triumphant reemergence and knighthood in the 1960s and '70s. Compulsive reading...what Coward has to say about other people is light-hearted, witty, often shrewd, totally without malice...his final entertainment for everyone's pleasure are these diaries. --Sunday Times. A constant delight. A goldmine of gossip with a cast of a thousand stars.
These words of Cicely Berry, the voice director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, speak to anyone who needs to speak his or her piece - in any arena, at sales meetings or religious revivals. Berry's book will insure that the speaker and the text gets heard - accurately and with true emotional range. Never again will one be accused of simply "reading a prepared statement." Berry's exercises to develop relaxation, breathing and muscular control will literally help everyone breathe easier when confronting the printed page.
This book isn't a critical examination of high comedy. Rather, it's a collection of suggestions for the middlemen: the actors who have to catch the comic spark from the playwright and pass it on to the audience. The effort involved must be imperceptible: one has to acquire the cleverness, the articulacy, the febrility of the characters - and then make the whole laborious exercise seem like swimming through silk...The characters in high comedies don't find verbal sophistication difficult or unfamiliar; they enjoy it as you might enjoy slang.
35 scenes from Shakespeare are presented in newly-edited texts, with notes which clarify meanings, topical references, puns, ambiguities, etc. A brief description of characters and situation prefaces each scene, and is followed by a commentary which discusses its major acting challenges and opportunities. Each scene has been chosen for its independent life requiring only the simplest of stage properties and the barest of spaces.