September 6, 2009

True and False:
Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor
David Mamet

Acting Out – In these 29 brief essays, David Mamet offers a stinging dissent to commonly accepted practice and wisdom. “If you decide to be an actor, stick to your decision,” he writes. “The folks you meet in supposed positions of authority – critics, teachers, casting directors – will, in the main, be your intellectual and moral inferiors. They will lack your imagination, which is why they became bureaucrats rather than artists; and they will lack your fortitude, having elected institutional support over a life of self-reliance. They spend their lives learning lessons very different from the ones you learn, and many or most of them will envy you and this envy will express itself as contempt. It’s a cheap trick of unhappy people, and if you understand it for what it is, you need not adopt or be overly saddened by their view of you. It is the view of the folks on the verandah talking about the lazy slaves.” Mamet also provides some practical, straight-forward advice: “In the theatre, as in other endeavors, correctness in the small is the key to correctness in the large. Show up fifteen minutes early. Know your lines cold. Choose a good, fun, physical objective. Bring to rehearsal and the performance those things you will need and leave the rest behind.” A must-read for anyone involved in theater.


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