Synopses & Reviews
William Esper, one of the leading acting teachers of our time, explains and extends Sanford Meisner's legendary technique, offering a clear, concrete, step-by-step approach to becoming a truly creative actor.
Esper worked closely with Meisner for seventeen years and has spent decades developing his famous program for actor's training. The result is a rigorous system of exercises that builds a solid foundation of acting skills from the ground up, and that is flexible enough to be applied to any challenge an actor faces, from soap operas to Shakespeare. Co-writer Damon DiMarco, a former student of Esper's, spent over a year observing his mentor teaching first-year acting students. In this book he recreates that experience for us, allowing us to see how the progression of exercises works in practice. The Actor's Art and Craft vividly demonstrates that good training does not constrain actors' instincts—it frees them to create characters with truthful and compelling inner lives.
A master teacher gives actors everywhere the benefit of his vast experience, helping them to build up a solid foundation of skills they can use to create characters with truthful and compelling inner lives.
About the Author
is a graduate of Western Reserve University and the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre in New York City. Bill trained as both actor and teacher under Sanford Meisner. Bill and Sandy worked closely together for 17 years, during which time Bill served as Associate Director of the Playhouses's Acting Department (1973-1976). Bill founded the William Esper Studio in 1965 and the Professional Actor Training Program at Rutgers University's Mason Gross School of the Arts in 1977. These two schools are renowned for routinely contributing actors of the highest quality to the International stage and screen.
Damon DiMarco earned his M.F.A. from the Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts under Bill Esper's tutelage. He acts professionally on stage, screen, and TV, and teaches at Drew University. Damon's other books include, Tower Stories: an Oral History of 9/11; Heart of War: Soldiers' Voices from the Front Lines of Iraq; and My Two Chinas: The Memoir of a Chinese Counterrevolutionary with Baiqiao Tang, which features a foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Table of Contents
Foreward by David Mamet
ONE — Begin Again — Empty Your Cup
TWO — The First Exercise — Did You Hear What He Said?
THREE — Repition Continues — Did You Really Hear What He Really Said?
FOUR — Developing Concentration
FIVE — How to Justify Absolutely Anything
SIX — Dont Gird Yourself to Act; Open Yourself to Receive
SEVEN — Objectives and Expectations: Be Careful What You Want
EIGHT — Action Problems: Awaken Your Inner Criminal
NINE — Scene Work: Private Conversations — Approach the Text and Pick Up Your Impulses
TEN — Farewell to Repition: Dont Do Anything Unless Something Happens to Make You Do It
ELEVEN — Daydreams, Fantasies, and Your Inner Life: Emotional Preparation
TWELVE — Relationships: I Know Hes Your Brother, but Who Is He Really?
THIRTEEN — The Domestic Exercise: How Are Things At Home?
FOURTEEN — The Second Round of Scene Work: Go Deeper into the Text
FIFTEEN — Final Questions: Its a Wrap. Now Where Do We Go from Here?