THE GOLDEN RULES OF ACTING that nobody ever tells you: Andy Nyman
NHB: pub 2012
Rec Price: 5.99
ISBN: 9 781848 422537

Review: Alexander Ray, 01 09 12

A complete joy, unique, a book for all seasons.

The cover of this book has a splash star on it reading ‘Over one million copies sold’. Then an asterisk, and the asterisk note says Completely untrue . . . (and continues.) Well, this books should have sold over a million copies – and I’m sure it will.

It’s unique. A unique mixture of streetwise good sense and hilarious – sometimes laugh-out-loud – wit.

It contains some 200 (I’m guessing) bites of good advice or quotations; every single one of them worthwhile reading. But there’s wit too in NHB’s production of the volume. Just in the way an actor might annotate a script, Nyman annotates this book – highlights, handwritten comments, capital letters. And colour too.

The whole effect is one of irrepressible joie-de-vivre . . . which, in a way, underpins Nyman’s survival technique. It’s what’s enabled him to be a jobbing actor for more than 20 years – a somewhat successful jobbing actor judging by his website

Here’s a taster: ‘I deny that I said actors are cattle. What I said was actors should be treated like cattle.’ (Alfred Hitchcock.) But my real favourite is the RSC director speaking to soldiers after a rehearsal of Henry V. He says: . . [No, I’m not giving that one away! AR]

One of the most entertaining writers about psychology (inspiring yourself, self motivation, luck et al) is Professor Richard Wiseman . . . and, moreover, his writing is academically and empirically based. Much of what Nyman is putting forward in his amusing way fits within Wiseman’s framework. Without doubt, Nyman hits the nail home at every turn.

This is an indispensible life saver and survival kit. Not a ‘coffee table’ book, though; put it on your dinner table.

2012-09-01 09:52:31

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