THE ACTING BOOK: John Abbott
NHB, Nick Hern Books
Pub: Aug 2012
ISBN: 9 781848 421448
Review: Alexander Ray, 10 09 12
If you’re involved in acting, you can’t afford to be without this book.
THE ACTING BOOK is unusual – as you read it you can’t make up your mind whether it’s for actors, teachers or trainee actors, but whichever hat you put on you can see how useful it would be. In other words, in this incredibly informative book, Abbott enables us to have our cake and eat it (several times over.)
In essence, Abbott describes in detail, the course he headed up at Arts Ed School (he’s recently retired). As he does it he accompanies his explanations with a great number of principles to be followed and exercises which enable you to do it. Hence he offers at one and the same time, a useful reference book for acting and all drama teachers, useful reminders and tips for experienced actors with perhaps new ways of looking at things, and an examination of processes for students.
‘Ahhh,’ I hear some acting teachers saying, ‘I know about teaching acting.’ You almost certainly do . . . But this book is crammed with ideas you may not know or may serve as useful re-alerts to what you’re doing.
Particularly enlightening are the sections on research and group discussion (an imaginative set of questions here to kick off discussion). And for those who aren’t aware of exactly how it works, there’s a helpful section (and helpfully concise) on Meisner.
Abbott’s book is one nobody should ignore; one of the things that comes over loud and clear, is the amount of time Abbott and his team have spent developing their ideas through careful practice and reflection.