A Challenge for the actor

When I first started reading this book I was a little disappointed because I thought that the entire book was going to involve only historical contexts of theatre. To my delight, not only is it an academic text, which explores the history of theatre, and acting, it also allows for appreciation of the art form. Uta Hagen makes it clear that acting is not a game; it must not be dismissed as many have by calling it “invalid”. In contrary, Hagen explains that acting is a very intense, difficult task. A true and successful actor must not only be passionate, but prepared for the commitment and preparation involved in such a career. There is not doubt that talent or “gift” as she refers to it is essential, but many other factors are involved in the process of theatre acting. In this book, Hagen examines different techniques, animation of the body and the mind and also listening to fellow actors and talking on stage. As an individual that has never even participated in grade level school plays I find acting extremely difficult and most of all nerve wrecking. There was a section in this book that I found truly helpful. It was an exercise that is suppose to help the actor learn his craft, an exercise that taught the actor to find occupation while waiting on stage. I was touched by this article because while on stage in acting class I felt dumbfounded when I had no lines and nothing to do. I learned that there is no such thing as having nothing to do, you must “appear” to be thinking and concentrate on the role you are performing. …

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