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Respect for Actingby Uta Hagen
Synopses & Reviews
"This fascinating and detailed book about acting is Miss Hagen's credo, the accumulated wisdom of her years spent in intimate communion with her art. It is at once the voicing of her exacting standards for herself and those she teaches, and an explanation of the means to the end. For those unable to avail themselves of her personal tutelage, her book is the best substitute."
"Uta Hagen's Respect for Acting is not only pitched on a high artistic level but it is full of homely, practical information by a superb craftswoman. crafts-woman. An illuminating discussion of the standards and techniques of enlightened stage acting."
"Hagen adds to the large corpus of titles on acting with vivid dicta drawn from experience, skill, and a sense of personal and professional worth. Her principal asset in this treatment is her truly significant imagination. Her ‘object exercises’ display a wealth of detail with which to stimulate the student preparing a scene for presentation."
"Respect for Acting is a simple, lucid and sympathetic statement of actors' problems in the theatre and basic tenets for their training wrought from the personal experience of a fine actress and teacher of acting."
"Uta Hagen's Respect for Acting…is a relatively small book. But within it Miss Hagen tells the young actor about as much as can be conveyed in print of his craft."
—Los Angeles Times
"Uta Hagen is our greatest living actor; she is, moreover, interested and mystified by the presence of talent and its workings; her third gift is a passion to communicate the mysteries of the craft to which she has given her life. There are almost no American actors uninfluenced by her."
"This is a textbook for aspiring actors, but working thespians can profit much by it. Anyone with just a casual interest in the theater should also enjoy its behind-the-scenes flavor. Respect for Acting is certainly a special book, perhaps for a limited readership, but of its "How-To" kind I'd give it four curtain calls, and two hollers of "Author, Author
—King Features Syndicate
"I have attempted to break down all the areas in which you can work and search for realities in yourself which serve the character and the play…. Put your instincts and sense of truth, your understanding of human realities to use while probing and grappling with the content and the roots of the material. Be specific and real in your actions, and they will communicate your artistic statement. Bring your universal understanding of the present to the present … as a real artist."
At the invitation of Herbert Berghof, Uta Hagen joined the faculty of the HB Studio in 1947. Since then, teaching has always been a challenge for her, as well as for the many prominent actors whom she has helped to develop. For many years, she has been asked to write a book. Now, here it is: an account of her own struggle with the techniques of acting and based on her teachings.
The first part, "The Actor," deals with techniques that set an actor in motion physically, verbally, and emotionally. It deals with the actor's concept of himself and with the art of acting, as well as with the ethics that have made the theater what it is today and what it could be tomorrow. Part Two, "The Object Exercises," offers specific and detailed work for the actor, covering a broad range of his problems. Part Three, "The Play and the Role," concerns itself with the definition of the play and identification with the character the actor will undertake. It also covers practical problems, the rehearsal, "style," and communication. Respect for Acting is a book for people who respect (or wish they could) the theater on both sides of the footlights, for actor and audience who favor truth in a creative process. The constructive stages of work delve into performance as well as into the issues surrounding a necessary change in the theater. It is all quite authentic, since Uta Hagen has never hesitated to throw herself into a good fight for a better offering in the theater in "the time of her life."
Respect for Acting
"This fascinating and detailed book about acting is Miss Hagen's credo, the accumulated wisdom of her years spent in intimate communion with her art. It is at once the voicing of her exacting standards for herself and those she [taught], and an explanation of the means to the end."
"Hagen adds to the large corpus of titles on acting with vivid dicta drawn from experience, skill, and a sense of personal and professional worth. Her principal asset in this treatment is her truly significant imagination. Her 'object exercises' display a wealth of detail with which to stimulate the student preparing a scene for presentation."
"Uta Hagen's Respect for Acting . . . is a relatively small book. But within it, Miss Hagen tells the young actor about as much as can be conveyed in print of his craft."
--Los Angeles Times
"There are almost no American actors uninfluenced by Uta Hagen."
"This is a textbook for aspiring actors, but working thespians can profit much by it. Anyone with just a casual interest in the theater should also enjoy its behind-the-scenes flavor."
--King Features Syndicate
About the Author
UTA HAGEN was born in Germany in 1919 and made her Broadway debut in 1938 as Nina in the Lunt-Fontanne production of The Sea Gull. Among some of the twenty or more Broadway productions in which she has starred are: Othello, Key Largo, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Country Girl, Saint Joan, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Recently she starred in the Twentieth-Century Fox film The Other. Even during her playing engagements she has never stopped teaching at the HB Studio. Geraldine Page, Fritz Weaver, Jason Robards, Jack Lemmon, Steve McQueen are only a few of the many fine actors she has helped to send on their way. She has also performed and directed at the HB Playwright's Foundation in numerous productions. Miss Hagen has been ably assisted in the writing of this book by Haskel Frankel, drama critic of The National Observer.
Table of Contents
PART ONE: The Actor.
4. Emotional Memory.
5. Sense Memory.
6. The Five Senses.
8. Walking and Talking.
PART TWO: The Object Exercises.
11. The Basic Object Exercise.
12. Three Entrances.
14. The Forth Wall.
16. Talking to Yourself.
18. Conditioning Forces.
20. Character Action.
PART THREE: The Play and the Role.
21. First Contact with The Play.
22. The Character.
25. The Objective.
26. The Obstacle.
27. The Action.
28. The Rehearsal.
29. Practical Problems.
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