Acting (Re)considered: A Theoretical and Practical Guide

Acting (Re)considered: A Theoretical and Practical Guide

Acting (Re)considered: A Theoretical and Practical Guide

Acting (Re)considered: A Theoretical and Practical Guide


Acting (Re)Considered is an exceptionally wide-ranging collection of theories on acting, ideas about body and training, and statements about the actor in performance. This second edition includes five new essays and has been fully revised and updated, with discussions by or about major figures who have shaped theories and practices of acting and performance from the late nineteenth century to the present.The essays - by directors, historians, actor trainers and actors - bridge the gap between theories and practices of acting, and between East and West. No other book provides such a wealth of primary and secondary sources, bibliographic material, and diversity of approaches. It includes discussions of such key topics as:* how we think and talk about acting* acting and emotion* the actor's psychophysical process* the body and training* the actor in performance* non-Western and cross-cultural paradigms of the body, training and acting. Acting (Re)Considered is vital reading for all those interested in performance.


Both the first and second editions of this book have been prompted by the need for a collection of essays which address the desire of many actors I know to understand not just one but many paradigms and approaches to acting; to raise and attempt to answer questions about acting and process; to provide useful information on principles, techniques, and approaches to acting drawn from both Western and non-Western sources; and to fill some of the gaps between practice and thought about acting.

Practitioners who work with me professionally or at university are immersed in daily training intended to discipline the bodymind through the Asian martial/meditation arts and related acting exercises as a psychophysiological basis for performance (Chapter 15). For some this is their first intensive exposure to an ongoing, rigorous, psychophysiologically based approach to acting which often causes them to (re)consider not only how acting is embodied but also how they think and talk about acting, that is, their preconceptions about acting are questioned. Something similar has been happening for quite a while in many other studios around the world where alternative, psychophysiological processes are increasingly being used as primary to training the contemporary actor. The experience of such alternative approaches through the body often leads to a desire to explore paradigms and techniques of acting which can either complement or provide alternatives to psychological realism.

The overwhelmingly positive response to the structure and range of essays in the first edition of Acting Reconsidered has made the task of producing a second edition both very easy and extremely difficult. While keeping the overall structure of the book with three parts - (I) theories of and meditations on acting, (II) the body and training, and (III) the actor in performance - when asked which specific essays in the first edition might be cut to make room for the five new essays included here, colleagues, participants, and students alike were unanimous in wanting to keep every essay in the first edition. Given limitations of space, I regretfully decided to cut the essays by Duane Krause and Ian Watson.

In this second edition, the introductions, several essays, and the extensive bibliography have been revised or expanded to take account of new developments and/or publications in the field of acting since 1995. In addition, Part I includes an important new contribution to our thinking about acting and emotion by Dutch psychologist Elly Konijn. Part II begins with Eugenio Barba's seminal essay reflecting on the significance of exercises for the development of actors. Part III includes three new essays each focusing on the practice of internationally known performers/ensembles: Paul Allain explains the seminal training and performance work of Gardzienice Theatre Association of Poland; Ellen Halperin-Royer describes the actor's process when working with Robert Wilson on Danton's Death; and the two part interview/account by Carol Martin and Richard Schechner allows us

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