True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor

David Mamet, Author Pantheon Books $20 (160p) ISBN 978-0-679-44249-3
""The job of the actor is to communicate the play to the audience, not to bother it with his or her good intentions and insights and epiphanies about the ways this or that character might use a handkerchief--these are the concerns of second-class minds."" So writes Mamet, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, director and teacher in this extremely blunt, unorthodox and shocking treatise on the profession of acting. He remarks that ""Stanislavsky was essentially an amateur"" and goes on to attack method acting and its proponents. He challenges the performer to be a daring individualist by staying away from formal acting schools: ""Part of the requirements of a life in the theater is to stay out of school....Formal education for the player is not only useless, but harmful."" And he goes on to say, ""Let me be impolite: most teachers of acting are frauds."" Mamet stresses that there are no set rules and refuses to define what talent is: ""I don't know what talent is, and, frankly, I don't care. I do not think it is the actor's job to be interesting. I think that is the job of the script. I think it is the actor's job to be truthful and brave."" This controversial book will anger many in the profession but may also inspire because of its brashness and daring. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
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