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A Challenge for the Actor

A Challenge for the Actor
Your Price: $38.95 CDN
Biz Bestseller!
Author: Uta Hagen
Publisher: Scribner
Format: Hardcover
# of Pages: 309
Pub. Date: 1991
ISBN-10: 0684190400
ISBN-13: 9780684190402

About the Book:

Uta Hagen, one of the world's most renowned stage actresses, taught acting for more than forty years, alongside her husband Herbert Berghof, at HB Studio, their acting school in New York. HB's long list of famous students includes Matthew Broderick, Sigourney Weaver, Liza Minnelli, Whoopi Goldberg, Jack Lemmon, Judd Hirsch, Jason Robards, Mercedes Ruehl, Ron Silver, Al Pacino, and Maureen Stapleton. She was a voice coach to Judy Garland.

In this definitive follow-up to her seminal text Respect for Acting, the celebrated actor and teacher greatly expands her thoughts on acting, through exercises of extended scope and range. A Challenge for the Actor is "class in a book" divided in four parts: The Actor, The Human Techniques, The Exercises, and The Role. In it, Uta Hagen has deepened her psychological exploration of human behaviour, resulting in a longer and more detailed explication of the vagaries of the craft. She raises the issue of the actor's goals and examines the specifics of the actor's techniques. She goes on to consider the actor's relationship to the physical and psychological senses. There is a brilliantly conceived section on the animation of the body and mind, of listening and talking, and the concept of expectation.

But perhaps the most useful sections in this "class in a book" are the exercises that Uta Hagen has created and elaborated to help actors learn their craft. The exercises deal with developing the actor's physical destination in a role; making changes in the self serviceable in the creation of a character; recreating physical sensations; bringing the outdoors on stage; finding occupation while waiting; talking to oneself and the audience; and employing historical imagination.

The scope and range of Uta Hagen here is extraordinary. Her years of acting and teaching have made her as finely seasoned an artist as the theatre has produced. Both books – Respect for Acting and A Challenge for the Actorare priceless for their clarity and their down-to-earth deconstruction and demystification of the art of acting combined with a heartfelt passion for what can often seem, to the practitioner, the most elusive of art forms.

What people say:

"Theoretically, the actor ought to be more sound in mind and body than other people, since he learns to understand the psychological problems of human beings when putting his own passions, his loves, fears, and rages to work in the service of the characters he plays. He will learn to face himself, to hide nothing from himself – and to do so takes an insatiable curiosity about the human condition" — from the Prologue

"Hagen adds to the large corpus of titles on acting with vivid dicta drawn from experience, skill, and a sense of personal and professional worth. Her principal asset in this treatment is her truly significant imagination. Her 'object exercises' display a wealth of detail with which to stimulate the student preparing a scene for presentation." — Library Journal

About the Author:

Uta Hagen (1919-2004) was one of the most renowned and respected acting teachers of the 20th century. A transcendent actor (she won three Tony awards), she was highly sought-after and influential among actors she trained at HB Studio, the renowned New York City dramatic arts studio she ran with her husband Herbert Berghof. She also put in writing what she knew about her craft in her seminal text, Respect for Acting, and her definitive followup, A Challenge for the Actor, both still used by acting students across the globe. She also authored Sources: A Memoir.

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