Synopses & Reviews
The founder and director of the Yale Repertory Theater, as well as Harvard's American Repertory Theater, and the drama critic for The New Republic for going on thirty years, Robert Brustein is a living legend in theatrical circles. In Letters to a Young Actor, he not only seeks to inspire the multitudes of struggling dramatists out pounding the pavement, but also to reinvigorate the very state of the art of acting itself.Brustein is a man of strong opinions and formidable intellect. Stocked with a wealth of stories about the now rich and famous (he has at various points in his career cultivated such talent as actors Meryl Streep, Marisa Tomei, Cherry Jones, Debra Winger, Sigourney Weaver, Christopher Walken, Tony Shalhoub, Henry Winkler, Christopher Lloyd, Claire Bloom, and many, many more), he brings both passion and a peerless authority to his subject. His telling anecdotes from decades of experience help explain how and why those who made it big are the successes they are today-and what struggles they faced along the way. From why Method acting is not the answer, to the critical importance of paying attention in English Lit. classes, Brustein's advice is clear, persuasive, and inspiring.
"This smart, no-nonsense primer-cum-directive on the art and science of acting comes stocked with information and peppered with anecdotes that will inspire the ambitious actor, despite the daunting nature of Brustein's curricula. Brustein, founder and director of the Yale Repertory Theatre and Harvard's American Repertory Theatre, is no lightweight, and this book may come as a shock to those who think acting is something innate and easy. Drawing on his 40-plus years of experience as an actor, director and dramaturge, Brustein explores what makes a good actor. Talent is essential, but insight, knowledge, reading, researching and a host of other explorations of both the human psyche and the history of literature and theater are necessary for an actor to have the range of some of Brustein's former students (Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver and Christopher Walken among them). Get a good liberal arts education, Brustein tells aspiring actors. Get a job to pay the rent and student loans while auditioning. Make numerous friends-these friendships will turn into jobs later in life. Most important, maintain a balance between performing and a personal life and remember that the best actors are all, at core, character actors. This is a sharp, accessible but far from simplistic Cliffs Notes on being an actor." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
From the Art of Mentoring series comes an elegant guidebook for performers on every stage and screen, written by a longtime mentor to many of today's biggest names in acting.
About the Author
An Ivy League-pedigreed teacher, actor, director, playwright, critic, and lifelong supporter of the theater, Robert Brustein has taught countless current stage and screen superstars, supervised well over 200 theatrical productions. His thirteen books used as texts for theater classes the world over.