Being an Actor

Simon Callow, Author St. Martin's Press $13.95 (190p) ISBN 978-0-312-07276-6
Callow was told by master performer Michael MacLiammoir that he was ""a born writer, perhaps, but not a born actor.'' He went on to become not only a most versatile actor, but with this book becomes an accomplished commentator on the theater. What makes Callow's memoir of the familiar uncertainties of an actor's life pleasurable is this actor's eccentricity. He revels in spinning tales of failed shows, arrogant directors, Oscar Wilde reincarnations such as MacLiammoir, who became Callow's first mentor, and the craziness of the profession. Stardom doesn't seem to be a preoccupation with him, and the adventure of creating unique characterizations, such as his Orlando in As You Like It, is perhaps his reward, especially when he astonished London with his portrayal of Mozart in the original staging of Amadeus. Callow is opinionated and an outspoken protector of the performer's right to interpret character, but he finds today's actors at the mercy of ambitious directors: the director ``has interposed himself between actor and writer, claiming that they cannot speak each other's language.'' Actors and non-actors alike will find this witty, knowledgeable book delightful. Photos. (March 31)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1986
Release date: 03/01/1986
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-312-13433-4
Paperback - 223 pages - 978-0-8021-3123-2
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-312-42243-1
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-09-947195-0
Hardcover - 190 pages - 978-0-413-52440-9
Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-4299-7148-5
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