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Challenge for the Actor


Challenge for the Actor Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Theoretically, the actor ought to be more sound in mind and body than other people, since he learns to understand the psychological problems of human beings when putting his own passions, his loves, fears, and rages to work in the service of the characters he plays. He will learn to face himself, to hide nothing from himself — and to do so takes an insatiable curiosity about the human condition.

from the Prologue

Uta Hagen, one of the world's most renowned stage actresses, has also taught acting for more than forty years at the HB Studio in New York. Her first book, Respect for Acting, published in 1973, is still in print and has sold more than 150,000 copies. In her new book, A Challenge for the Actor, she greatly expands her thinking about acting in a work that brings the full flowering of her artistry, both as an actor and as a teacher. She raises the issue of the actor's goals and examines the specifics of the actor's techniques. She goes on to consider the actor's relationship to the physical and psychological senses. There is a brilliantly conceived section on the animation of the body and mind, of listening and talking, and the concept of expectation.

But perhaps the most useful sections in this book are the exercises that Uta Hagen has created and elaborated to help the actor learn his craft. The exercises deal with developing the actor's physical destination in a role; making changes in the self serviceable in the creation of a character; recreating physical sensations; bringing the outdoors on stage; finding occupation while waiting; talking to oneself and the audience; and employing historical imagination.

The scope and range of Uta Hagen here is extraordinary. Her years of acting and teaching have made her as finely seasoned an artist as the theatre has produced.


Uta Hagen, internationally renowned actress and author, has writen a major new book that is sure to be welcomed in the field of acting. Actor's World covers voice techniques, timing, and rhythm. It teaches how to establish the identity of a character, how to use physical senses and inner objects, and much more.

About the Author

Uta Hagen was born in Germany, then she moved to the United States, where her father was head of the Art History Department at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Her first role was as Ophelia in Eva Le Gallienne's production of Hamlet. She then played the role of Nina in the Lunts' production of The Sea Gull. She has also appeared in Key Largo, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Country Girl, Saint Joan, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? She has recently appeared on "American Playhouse" for PBS, and among her recent films is Reversal of Fortune. She was married for more than forty years to Herbert Berghof, the internationally known director, actor, and teacher. Uta Hagen lives in New York City.

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments, an Apology, and a Little Advice

Prologue: What Does It Take?

Part One: The Actor

1. The Actor's World

2. The Actor's Goals

3. The Actor's Techniques

The Outer Techniques

The Human Techniques

Part Two: The Human Techniques

4. The Self

5. Transference

6. The Physical Senses

7. The Psychological Senses

8. Animation

The Body

The Mind

Inner Objects



9. Expectation

Part Three' The Exercises

10. The Exercises

General Purpose

The Six Steps

For the Presentation

11. The First Exercise: Physical Destination

For The Presentation

12. The second Exercise: The Fourth Side


Primary Use of the Fourth Side

Subliminal Use of the Fourth Side

For the Presentation

13. The Third Exercise: changes of self

Part I

For the Presentation

Part II

For The Presentation

14. The Fourth Exercise: Moment to Moment

For the Presentation

15. The Fifth Exercise: Re-Creating Physical Sensations

Part I

For the Presentation

Part II

For the Presentation

16. The Sixth Exercise: Bringing the Outdoors On Stage

For the Presentation

17. The Seventh Exercise: Finding Occupation While Waiting

For the Presentation

18. The Eighth Exercise: Talking to Yourself

For the Presentation

19. The Ninth Exercise: Talking to the Audience

For the Presentation

20. The Tenth Exercise: Historical Imagination


Historical Imagination

For the Presentation

21. Combinations

Part Four: The Role

22. The Play

23. Homework and the rehearsal

The Rehearsal

24. Scoring the Role

1. Who Am "I"?

2. What Are "My" Circumstances?

3. What Are "My" Relationships?

4. What Do "I" Want?

5. What's in "My" Way?

6. What Do 'I' Do to Get What "I" Want?


For the Teacher


Product Details

Hagen, Uta
Scribner Book Company
New York :
Film - General
Acting & Auditioning
General Performing Arts
Film & Video - General
Edition Description:
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
August 1991
Grade Level:
9.25 x 6.12 in 18.34 oz

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Drama » Acting
Arts and Entertainment » Drama » General
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » General
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Reference

Challenge for the Actor New Hardcover
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Product details 336 pages Scribner Book Company - English 9780684190402 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Uta Hagen, internationally renowned actress and author, has writen a major new book that is sure to be welcomed in the field of acting. Actor's World covers voice techniques, timing, and rhythm. It teaches how to establish the identity of a character, how to use physical senses and inner objects, and much more.
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