The Actor Speaks: Twenty-Four Actors Talk about Process and Technique

Janet Sonenberg, Author
Janet Sonenberg, Author Three Rivers Press (CA) $19 (320p) ISBN 978-0-517-88388-4
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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""Great acting is not magic,"" director and MIT theater professor Sonenberg begins, ""which is not to deny its mystery."" Her purpose in this collection of interviews ""is to investigate how these 24 actors work. And if they produce something we think of as magical onstage... to try to break it into its component parts. When these are understood they can be practiced."" Sonenberg's choice of actors encompasses many methods and styles of preparation. She wisely steps aside and lets the actors speak for themselves once she has provided the background for each. Mercedes Ruehl and Lily Tomlin describe their initial terror onstage; Alan Arkin, Frances Sternhagen, Zoe Caldwell and Olympia Dukakis discuss their evolving techniques; Blue Man Group, Black Eyed Susan and the Peruvian actor Teresa Ralli share the unique aspects of their work. Magic may come in performance, but to be able to portray a character at will, night after night on the stage, or in take after take on film, the actor must have developed solid techniques--the many possible ways to bring a character to life, to illuminate the mystery and make that magic happen. (May)
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