“All the world’s a stage and men and women are merely players”. Shakespeare.
Inside each of us, there is an actor, regardless of who we are or where we come from. In real life, we adopt different personas and act according to the situation. However, some people are skilled at creating personas and situations and can mimic others better than the originals. These individuals are called actors. While acting may be a god-gifted talent, it can also be learned. Veteran actors and directors from the same field have written books on acting techniques and methods, using their decades of experience to share their knowledge. There are thousands of books available that can assist with every minute detail of acting. Whether you are a beginner or a professional looking to explore the field of acting with the help of books, the list of books about acting provided below will aid you in both cases.
1.The Power of the Actor: The Chubbuck Technique by Ivana Chubbuck
The Power of the Actor: The Chubbuck Technique by Ivana Chubbuck is an essential read for all budding actors. From minor details to major theories, it covers everything related to acting. The primary focus of the book is on acting techniques and famous theories, as well as how to practice these theories. Additionally, it is also loaded with old and contemporary scripts. Written by an author who has launched many of Hollywood’s best actors, The Power of the Actor is a must-read for all actors.
2.Sanford Meisner on Acting by Sanford Meisner and Dennis Longwell
Sanford Meisner on Acting by Sanford Meisner and Dennis Longwell is a delightful read for all audiences. Written with compassion, the book covers techniques and methods of acting. It teaches the art of adopting a character by arousing one’s own painful and happy emotions. A bit lengthy and slow, yet, an entertaining and thoughtful read on acting. It is recommended for both beginners and professional actors.
3.Actions: The Actors’ Thesaurus by Marina Caldarone and Maggie Lloyd-Williams
Actions: The Actors’ Thesaurus by Marina Caldarone and Maggie Lloyd-Williams is a prerequisite for any good actor. Brimming with action verbs, it teaches how to manipulate words and actions with numerous examples. Besides, it also assists in script understanding and analysis. Recommended by acting coaches, it is a must-have for actors like a pocket dictionary.
4.Improvisation for the Theater: A Handbook of Teaching and Directing Techniques by Viola Spolin
Improvisation for the Theater: A Handbook of Teaching and Directing Techniques by Viola Spolin is a brilliant book for theater actors to improve their art of improvisation, often regarded as the Bible of acting. With the help of games, it teaches techniques and methods of improv acting. Other than the acting field, the improvisation techniques provided can also be used in the field of healthcare, education, and psychology.
5.Theater Games for Rehearsal: A Director’s Handbook by Viola Spolin
Theater Games for Rehearsal: A Director’s Handbook by Viola Spolin is a practical guide for all theater directors. It includes rehearsal games and techniques, along with side instructions from Viola’s own experience. Additionally, the techniques are elaborated with the help of situations and context. From stage setting to actors’ costumes, Viola Spolin has explained everything in easy-to-understand terms. It is recommended not only for directors but also for actors.
6.The Method: How the Twentieth Century Learned to Act by Isaac Butler
The Method: How the Twentieth Century Learned to Act by Isaac Butler is a thorough study of Hollywood method acting. Essentially, it answers three queries: who were the pioneers of method acting, how it evolved in the course of history, and how it is employed in contemporary film and television acting. It follows accounts of Marlon Brando, Eliza Kezn, and Marilyn Monroe. Recommended for readers interested in American acting history.
7.On Method Acting: The Classic Actor’s Guide to the Stanislavsky Technique as Practiced at the Actors Studio by Edward Dwight Easty
One of the best books about acting, It teaches the art of Method acting. Focusing on Stanislavski’s techniques, it explains all possible ways of adopting the techniques. Divided into four chapters, it explains the importance of sense memory, improvisation, animal exercise, and creating the outer experiences as helpful tools in method acting. Besides, it also stresses the role of lighting and sound design in method acting. It is recommended for readers interested in method acting.
8.Acting: How to Get Started by Frank Catalano
It is a perfect book for beginners. From understanding terminologies to performing and preparing for scenes, it instructs everything related to acting. Explained in easy-to-understand language and with examples, Acting is a good start for aspiring actors.
I hope you liked our list of books about acting. Please comment the name of your favorite acting book.