cover image The Actor's Wheel of Connection

The Actor's Wheel of Connection

Richard Brestoff, . . Smith & Kraus, $16.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-57525-391-6

This excellent acting manual likens the craft to six spokes in a wheel, in which one spoke represents the actor's connection to himself, the second a connection to the other, the third an actor's connection to circumstances, the fourth a connection to the text, the fifth a connection to character and the last a connection to the audience. Acting teacher Brestoff (The Great Acting Teachers and Their Methods ) embellishes each of these categories with practical, helpful lists and exercises. When discussing the connection to self, Brestoff stresses the need to reveal ourselves honestly, indicating that no behavior is foreign to us, and that the "sublime and the ugly"—from Gandhi to Hitler—can be tapped. In "Connecting to Other," he underlines the importance of working without preconceived ideas and not censoring first impulses. Also notable are Brestoff's suggestions about characterization and the need to observe people, to watch them eat, read, walk and talk, to see what they wear and how they stand. The author concludes with a heartening message to actors, reassuring them that what they bring to a performance is unique, and that their contributions matter. (Oct.)