Drama: An Actor's Education

Drama: An Actor's Education

by John Lithgow
4.3 12

Hardcover

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Drama 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Lilac_Wolf More than 1 year ago
For such a mundane and simple cover, I was dazzled at the direction the book and Lithgow's life took. He moved around a lot because of his father, who had this dream of starting the next great Shakespeare festival. So for all the goofy roles you've seen Lithgow in, he's been acting in Shakespeare plays since he was a child. John writes of the excitement of acting as a child, but his real dream was to be an artist. His parents were so supportive, they even sent him to an art class for teenagers in New York when the high school's class was too rigid. But he continued to act, for his father and in high school. If you've ever seen Buckaroo Bonzai, you will remember Dr. Emelio Lizardo. He says that not only was this his favorite role, but he played it based on Dr. Pinch whom he played way back in high school. While doing the art and acting, he was also a model and active student. Graduating with honors, he attended Harvard on a full scholarship. He had planned on pursuing art, and his father took him to see a respected artist and the guy's question to Lithgow was "If you want to be an artist, why the Hell are you going to Harvard?" It opened Lithgow's eyes, it really didn't have a program that would take him where he thought he wanted to go. When he got there he fell in love with the Drama area. There wasn't an actual program, but there was a theater and students working in it. He majored in English and went to town with the other Drama students. He married before he finished college and went to London on a Fulbright scholarship to study acting. It had been decided, he would be an actor. His wife was a special education teacher, 6 years his senior. She went where he went, working to support them and occasionally acting with him. He worked for his father first but then moved on to pursue more challenges. He really had a slow start, but by the 70s he was a Broadway actor, in fact he was in 12 plays through the 70s. He's done some movie work, and some TV but he absolutely adores the theater. I had no idea I would enjoy this book so much. He didn't have a terrible childhood, his parents loved him. The only trauma that shaped him was the constant moving around. But it certainly helped his acting career - he knows how to fit in. He didn't spiral out of control on a drugged-out bender. The worst period for him was in his 30s when adolescence finally hit. He was an ass, and he admits he was an ass. I finished this book with a lot of respect for the man, even though some of his actions I didn't like or agree with. I also learned that I really enjoy a well-written autobiography.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Well written book. Unfortunately, I have a lower opinion of him now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Admittedly, I was very intrigued by this book. As simple as the title could be it covered virtually everything that I was expecting, if not more. I learned a lot about John’s personal life how it shaped into what his life is today. He is so many things at once that it boggles my mind knowing that he can handle all of this. DRAMA is a theater junkie’s milk-and-cookie fix. Lithgow takes you by the hand through his personal journey, the trials and tribulations of his life in the theater and movies. One of its most stunning features is Lithgow’s sharing of his relationship with his father. This sets the tone and inspiration for the book, and displays Lithgow’s humility and gratefulness for his success. Lithgow actually wanted to be an artist, but acting chose him. This line particularly resonated with me during this time in my family's life: "If you hear enough applause and laughter at a young enough age, you are doomed to become an actor. After my performance as the young damsel-in-distress, my fate was probably sealed." It goes to show that when you do something so great once, people or in this case, fans, want you to do more. The major message that I could find in this novel loves your family and the ability to adapt to change. John wouldn’t have gotten where he was if it wasn’t for his dad, Arthur Lithgow he would never have really became an actor, and you have to love your father for that, but having to adapt is very tough. John and his family has moved from town to town for many years and John and his siblings never could really have something on account that his dad was setting up Shakespeare festivals across the country, but they managed to get by somehow. What I like the most about this book is how he grew up backstage, building sets, making costumes, and making little fits about how special his part is, no matter how little it was. I mean, you can’t get a better learning experience then being back stage and seeing just what goes into a play small or large. One dislike I had was how jumped up into things to early. He got married before he was done with college and that caused his marriage to collapse. And the idea of starting a theater company and not knowing on how to handle it properly. But this is what he wanted to do even if it was too soon. After, everyone tends to do something to early as well. Overall this novel is very inspiring and knowledgeable of one actor’s education. This book should be handed out to every aspiring teenager who sees all the glittering lights and want s to be an actor. It will completely dispel the myth of overnight success and show you the hard work and time required to have a chance at your dream. Another book I would recommend is Respect for Acting. It is another memoir about acting from Uta Hegen. Or better yet, try Pacino - An actor's Vision from Al Pacino.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pat-lu More than 1 year ago
Mr. Lithgow presents his tale in a very honest and entertaining manner. I enjoyed hearing his fathers story as well. John is one of my favorite actors and this book tells me why.
cameru More than 1 year ago
upon reading the book, you can barely imagine the plot, settings as if you were on that particular time. i found it as if i am watching on a television. i learned a lot! keep it up john... you inspires me!!! its just so sad that i'm not able to meet in person...
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