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The Actor and the Alexander Technique

Overview

F.M. Alexander developed the Alexander Technique of movement in the early 20th century. Combining vocal clarity and body movement, Alexander developed a performance coaching method that is used by dancers, actors, singers, etc. In The Actor and the Alexander Technique, Kelly McEvenue writes the first basic book about how this unique technique can help actors feel more natural on the stage. She provides warm-up exercises, "balance" and "center" exercises, spatial awareness exercises. She talks about imitation, the...

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The Actor and the Alexander Technique

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Overview

F.M. Alexander developed the Alexander Technique of movement in the early 20th century. Combining vocal clarity and body movement, Alexander developed a performance coaching method that is used by dancers, actors, singers, etc. In The Actor and the Alexander Technique, Kelly McEvenue writes the first basic book about how this unique technique can help actors feel more natural on the stage. She provides warm-up exercises, "balance" and "center" exercises, spatial awareness exercises. She talks about imitation, the use of masks, nudity on the stage, dealing with injury and aging. She talks about specific productions that have successfully used the Alexander Technique, such as "The Lion King". With a foreword by Patsy Rodenburg of our own phenomenal The Actor Speaks this is a book that belongs on the shelf of every working and studying actor.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Destined to become a classic for the working actor's bookshelf."—Library Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312295158
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/17/2002
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 808,983
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Kelly McEvenue is a certified teacher of the Alexander technique. She is one of the main acting coaches for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario.

Patsy Rodenburg is Director of Voice at London's Royal National Theater and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements viii
Foreword ix
An Introduction to The Actor and the Alexander Technique xiii
Introduction xv
F. M. Alexander's Story xviii
Part 1 The Alexander Technique in the Theatre 1
How the Alexander Technique Became My Vocation 3
The Alexander Teacher's Role in the Production of a Play 6
The Principles of the Alexander Technique 11
1. Recognition of Habit
2. Inhibition--Pausing for an Instant to Arrest a Habit
3. The 'Primary Control'
4. Giving Direction--Learning to Use Your Thinking to Make a Change
5. 'Feelings' May Give Unreliable Feedback
6. End-gaining
7. Non-doing--'Less is More'
The Anatomy Lesson 29
The Actor Prepares--Warming Up 37
Preparing the Actor for Rehearsal or Performance
Warm-up Exercises
1. Stretching on the Mat--Lying on the Back in the Semi-supine Position
2. Engaging the Adominal Wall and the Back Muscles
3. A Shoulder Stretch
4. Getting Up Off the Floor
5. Finding Balance or 'Centre'
6. Arm Stretching
7. Undulating Through Centre
8. Find the Hip Joint
9. The Rolling-over Exercise
10. Balancing into Walking
11. An Open-leg Stretch
Part 2 Putting the Alexander Technique to Work 55
Partner Work--Moving in Relationship 57
Partner Work and Spatial Awareness Exercises
1. Spatial Awareness Exercises
2. Endowment--Observing the Other
3. Stage 2 of Spatial Awareness
4. Contact Partner Work
5. Centrifugal Force and Opposition Exercises
6. A Mirroring Exercise
7. Status Work--Playing the High and the Low Brows
8. Tableau Exercise--Learning to Survive a 'Freeze'
The Table Work and the Alexander Technique 79
Lesson One
Lesson Two
Part 3 Alexander Technique and Voice Work 85
1. Alexander's Discovery
2. Voice Work and the Alexander Technique
3. Musical Theatre
4. Opera Singing and the Alexander Technique
5. The Whispered 'Ah' Exercise
Part 4 The Alexander Technique and Acting Challenges 99
Relevance of the Alexander Technique to Acting 101
1. The Actor and Fitness
2. Character Work and the Alexander Technique
3. Playing Another Gender--from the 'Trouser Role' to the Drag Act
4. Imitation--Mirroring
5. The Kissing Class
6. Nudity
7. Alexander with Costumes, Wigs and Period Accoutrements
8. Mask Work
9. The Zoo Project--An Animal Study
10. The Lion King
11. An Elizabethan Bear
12. The Injured Actor
13. Understudies
14. The Ageing Actor
15. Falling and Fainting On Stage
16. Drunkenness
17. Martial Arts and the Alexander Technique
The Stage--How the Actor Adapts to Playing the Space 140
1. The Proscenium-arch Stage
2. The Raked Stage
3. The Thrust Stage
4. Theatre In the Round
5. Outdoor Theatre
Epilogue 145
Addresses 147
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