On Acting A Handbook for Today's Unique American Actor

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-01-15
  • Publisher: Focus Publishing/R. Pullins Co.

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Supplemental Materials

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  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.
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To support a new generation of actors/acting teachers by coupling fresh ideas and new approaches with the best proven methods and practices. On Actingis written primarily for the contemporary American actor. It strives to address the acting process with an eye toward the performance culture and requirements that exist today. It is a book for the new twenty-first century artist-the serious practical artist who seeks to pursue a career that is both fulfilling and viable. From the author:I have spent more than 30 years and literally tens of thousands of hours in rehearsal as a professional actor, director and playwright. Over the past 15 years I have merged my professional work with undergraduate teaching. The thoughts, philosophies, exercises and practical suggestions presented in On Acting are, to no small degree, a very personal account of an acting process-sometimes anecdotal, sometimes instructive, but always voiced with the student/artist in mind. The text does not subscribe to a single methodology (Meisner, Stanislavski, Linklater, etc.), but it illuminates a process that will be, to a greater or lesser degree, familiar to most classroom acting instructors. While all acting texts need to illuminate broad philosophical ideas and concepts, On Acting is unique for it is written by an actor, directly to the student-actor. This sometimes allows for a conversational/informal style not often found in textbooks.

Author Biography

Steven Breese has enjoyed a national and international acting/directing career that has spanned 30 years. Currently serving as Dean of the College of Arts & Humanities at Christopher Newport University, he has spent the last 15 years dedicated to art and craft of teaching young actors. Prior to being appointed Dean, he was Department Chair of Theater & Dance and Artistic Director of Tidewater Regional Repertory Theatre. An active member of AEA and SAG, he holds his MFA from California Institute of the Arts and served as Director of the BFA Acting Program at Texas Christian University from 1992-1998. Nationally/internationally recognized theaters at which Breese has either acted or directed include: South Coast Repertory, Cleveland Playhouse, Virginia Shakespeare Festival, Chanhassen Theaters, Sherwood Shakespeare Festival, American Heartland Theatre, Shakespeare Festival of Dallas, Dallas Theater Center, Forum Theatre, The Royal George Theatre, Casa Manana, Stage West, The Operettenhaus (Hamburg, Germany), and many other regional theaters and touring companies. From 2004-2010, Breese has been an invited guest artist (actor and/or director) at The Virginia Shakespeare Festival. Breese is also a prolific and published playwright with more than 25 plays to his credit.

Table of Contents

Before We Get Started Forward ACT I: THE ACTOR\u2019S WORK Lesson 1: On Being an Actor a.    Since Stanislavski •    Historical Perspective •    Taking Ownership b.    Living Truthfully in Imaginary Circumstances •    Characteristics and Meanings •    Points of View •    Interactions •    Being Alive •    Public Anxiety •    Divide and Release c.    Thinking like an Actor •    Shifting Into Reverse •    Reflection, Curiosity and Aesthetic d.    Summary: Lesson 1 e.    Activities and Exercises: Journal Lesson 2: On Beginning a.    The Beginners Mind •    Five Assumptions •    The Necessity of Failure b.    The Naked Truth •    Scene by Scene •    Magic in the Making •    Stuff that\u2019s in Our Way c.    Zero •    Finding Zero •    Using Zero d.    \u201cJust Say the Words\u201d e.    Summary: Lesson 2 f.    Activities and Exercises: Present Tense, Image and Text, Finding Zero Lesson 3: On Action a.    Making Human Beings b.    What Do You Want? c.    Say It / Play It •    Tactics •    Actions •    Common Playable Actions d.    Point of Impact •    What is at Stake? e.    The Action Cycle f.     \u201cThe Sensation of Acting\u201d g.    Summary: Lesson 3 h.    Activities and Exercises: Improving Action Lesson 4: On Obstacle a.    The Essential Struggle •    Essential Elements b.    Without and Within •    Those Without •    Those Within c.    \u201cAbout-Face the Fear\u201d d.    Summary Lesson 4 e.    Activities and Exercises: The Jump Lesson 5: On Public Isolation (Solitude) a.    Intimate Strangers b.    Concentration c.    Split Concentration d.    Summary: Lesson 5 e.    Activities and Exercises: Entrance/Exit Lesson 6: On Judgment (and Risk) a.    Just Do, Don\u2019t Judge •    Self-Censorship •    Risk b.    It Should Cost You Something •    Ready, Render, Reflect, Repeat c.    The Magic \u201cAND\u201d d.     \u201cThe Best Day of the Year\u201d e.    Summary: Lesson 6 f.    Activities and Exercises: Sense Recalls Lesson 7: On Intimacy a.    The Morning After b.    The Sensuality of the Process •    What We See •    What We Hear •    Inner Monologue •    What We Smell and Taste •    What We Touch c.    One Kiss, Many Parts •    Relationship and Backstory •    Obstacle and Risk •    Mystery •    Anticipation and 1000% Listening •    Decision •    Emotional Arc •    Checking In d.    \u201cSterling Was Never the Same\u201d e.    Summary: Lesson 7 f.    Exercises: Sense and Sensation Lesson 8: On Emotion a.    Emotion and Acting •    Using Emotion b.    Tying Emotion to Action c.    Vulnerability •    Accepting Offers d.    Summary Lesson 8 e.    Activities and Exercises: Emotional Recalls Lesson 9: On Repetition a.    Do It 100 Times b.    Process of Building a Scene •    Read-through •    Memorize Lines / Own the Words •    Five Scene Study Questions •    Putting the Scene On its Feet •    Stage Directions •    The Four \u201cRs\u201d c.    Now Do it the First Time d.    Summary: Lesson 9 e.    Activities and Exercises for Lesson #9 Lesson 10: On Improvement a.    The Big Secret •    Breakthroughs and Little Steps •    Stagnation and Patience b.    Are You Trying? c.    \u201cMuch Ado About the Word\u201d d.    Summary: Lesson 10 e.    Exercises: Stop Trying ACT II: THE ACTOR\u2019S TOOLBOX Lesson 11: On Script Analysis a.    Dramatic Construction •    Crisis b.    Getting Basic •    What Is? •    What Probably Is? •    What Might, Could or May be? •    What\u2019s Missing? •    What Do You Want Overall? c.    Getting Specific •    Scene\u2019s Given Circumstances •    What\u2019s the Episode? •    Starting in the Middle •    Characters and Relationships •    What\u2019s New? Discoveries, Changes and Decisions •    Change in Relationship •    Change that Drive Decisions d.    Breaking Down the Scene •    Beats and Beat Change •    Dominate Tactics/Beats •    Score the Scene e.    Putting it Together f.    Summary: Lesson 11 g.    Activities and Further Study Lesson 12: On Movement a.    Strength •    Thoughts on Dance b.    Flexibility •    The Spine •    The Cat •    The Serpent •    The Question Mark •    Rolling and Stacking •    Rotation •    Side (Obliques) c.    Relaxation •    The Center d.    Control •    Specificity, Economy of Movement and Character Traits •    Posture •    Stylized Movement, Period Movement and Dance •    Stage Violence and Combat e.    Freedom f.    Summary: Lesson 12 g.    Activities & Further Study Lesson 13: On Stillness a.    Vibrancy Inside b.    Internal Focus c.    Summary: Lesson 13 d.    Activities & Further Study Lesson 14: On Voice and Speech a.    Breath and Breathing b.    Releasing Sound c.    Pitch and Resonance d.    Language e.    Diction and Articulation •    Voiced vs. Unvoiced •    Stops, Fricatives, Approximates, Affricates and Laterals f.    Unity of Voice and Body g.    Shaping Language Onstage •    Playing With Language •    Practical Measures •    Checklist to Assist Use of Voice and Text h.    A Few Notes on Singing i.    Summary: Lesson 14 j.    Activities & Further Study Lesson 15: On Character a.    Asking the Right Questions •    What Did the Playwright, Write? •    What is Required Physically? •    Social, Educational and Economic Status •    Psychological and Moral Outlook •    Dominate Tactic(s) •    Core Value(s) b.    Ownership •    Falling in Love c.    Character vs. Characteristics d.    Variety e.    Summary: Lesson 15 f.    Exercise: Fantasy Recalls Lesson 16: On Stuff a.    Stuff in Our Hands •    Helping to Define Character •    Hand Props as Stage Business •    Creative Opportunities b.    Stuff on the Stage c.    Stuff We Wear •    Research •    Discussions •    Wearing What, When? •    How You Wear It d.    Summary: Lesson 16 Lesson 17: On Rehearsal a.    First Rehearsal b.    The Actor\u2019s Job •    Blocking •    Scene Work/Scene Rehearsals •    Work-Through/Run-Through •    Designer Run-Through •    Technical rehearsals & Cue-To-Cue •    Dress Rehearsals. c.    Completion d.    Summary: Lesson 17 Lesson 18: On Vocabulary / Glossary of Terms Lesson 19: On the Future Appendix A: \u201cRun. Run. Run Away.\u201d A short play by Steven Breese Appendix B:   Scene score for \u201cRun. Run. Run Away.\u201d

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