The Great Acting Teachers and Their Methods

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In this new book, Richard Brestoff continues to amaze with his ...

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In this new book, Richard Brestoff continues to amaze with his clarity, insights and his deep passion for acting." —Olympia Dukakis

The Great Acting Teachers and Their Methods, Volume 2 features the innovative ideas and theories of:
• André Antoine
• Jacques Copeau
• Michel Saint-Denis
• Elia Kazan
• Uta Hagen
• David Mamet
• Anne Bogart
• Keith Johnstone

In this follow-up to his first volume that has become an essential classroom text, Brestoff examines all new teachers and exposes the origin of today's ideas and exercises that acting students are practicing. What is the rationale behind the lesson? Why is it useful? Whether they can be called revolutionary or evolutionary, the conflicting theories of these teachers result from outrage and disgust.

Andre Antoine, Jacques Copeau and Michel Saint-Denis represent a virtually unacknowledged yet powerful French influence on acting and actor training in the United States and abroad.

American Realist teachers known as the passionate questioners, such as Elia Kazan, who is disgusted with Broadway's commercialism, Uta Hagen and David Mamet, and two influential "outside-the-box" teachers, Anne Bogart with her Viewpoints work and Keith Johnstone, creator of Theatre Sports, are also featured.

While differences among the various acting theories and practices are noted and analyzed, so too are exciting and unexpected connections among them revealed.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Professional actor and teacher Brestoff surveys schools of acting from the ultranaturalistic 19th-century actor-director André Antoine, with a style indebted to the writing of Émile Zola, to the Viewpoints system of Anne Bogart, at the forefront of modern experimental theater. Brestoff effectively avoids losing the reader in discussions of abstract theories by reporting the circumstances of their development and implementation in a wonderfully urgent and visceral manner. Elia Kazan's feelings of inadequacy about his physical appearance; Uta Hagen's dissatisfaction with her early successes; and Michel Saint-Denis's oedipal competition with his legendary uncle, Jacques Copeau, are presented dramatically as essential to the development of their individual methods. The influence of early practitioners is shown to be both embraced and rejected by their successors. Brestoff also excels in portraying the different theories in practice. An account of his theater company's experiences with two different Viewpoints instructors is particularly illuminating. VERDICT This readable introduction to a wide range of seminal acting teachers will serve the needs of working actors looking for a survey of training methods.—John Frank, Los Angles P.L.
The Coast Book Review Service
It is 1951 and a small British film opens in a few theaters across America. The star is Michael Redgrave and he plays a middle-aged school teacher years past his prime. He's a basic failure with an unfaithful wife and none of it matters at all as he addresses the boys he's known at school, and for that one moment in time, we get to see the humanity of the man and his speech is a heartbreaking triumph, as good as anything you'll ever see on film. "The Browning Version" is now a classic and Redgrave shows an understated power that is rare in any medium; as Tom Wolfe would say, he had the right stuff and plenty of it. Richard Brestoff is no slouch himself, an actor/teacher/writer who discusses teachers' methods and schools that have perfected and offered approaches to the mysterious world of acting. Yes, there are actors that have fallen off horses and were discovered into stars and, if they ever had acting class one, nobody knows about it. Richard Mitchum comes immediately to mind and if you think he can't act, you definitely missed "Night of the Hunter". The average person will never be a Mitchum, but anyone serious about the profession of acting could benefit from the sound principles illuminated in this book. Brestoff discusses Adler, Meyerhold, Meisner, Grotowski, Stanislavski and numerous others who have helped performers realize their potential. An excellent chapter devoted to training school profiles will produce some pain ($16,000 a year at the Actor's Studio in New York and $19,000 at New York University), but each program is discussed and evaluated with specific teachers and types of training techniques offered. This is another excellent title from Smith and Kraus, one of the finest performing arts publishing programs in the country.
—Al Ralston
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781575257709
  • Publisher: Smith & Kraus, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/1/2010
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 685,334
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Brestoff is Associate Professor of Drama and Associate Head of Acting University of California, Irvine. He is the author of four best-selling books for Smith and Kraus, including The Great Acting Teachers and Their Methods Volume 1, The Camera Smart Actor, The Actor's Wheel of Connection and Acting Under the Circumstances. He has acted on Broadway and off, in Regional Theater and on camera, appearing on the 1991 Emmy Ballot for his Guest-Star performance on the CBS television series, thirtysomething. Richard holds an MFA in Acting form NYU where his teachers included Olympia Dukakis, Peter Kass, Joe Chaikin and Kristin Linklater.

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