I am including a list of books, important in how I came to understand acting and performance, and whose ideas run through much of my Walking and Talking essay. By including this list I am providing an outlet for those individuals who are interested enough in these ideas to want to learn more. Except for Unbalancing Acts most of these books are in print and can easily be obtained via Amazon. -RHA
Chekhov is a very important teacher and theorist of contemporary acting technique. In many ways his approach is the most universal and suggestive because he places the creative imagination at the center of his work. He was considered the most talented actor to come out of the Russian Art Theater. He was also something of a mystic and follower of Rudolf Steiner. He has recounted at least one, extremely profound mystical experience while performing onstage.
Barba is primarily a theorist. Nevertheless, his ideas are extremely suggestive and full of light. I consider his analysis of the performative act to be unparalleled.
This is a good book if you feel stuck or uncertain about how to ‘do it.’ Stop second-guessing yourself and just go for it, the universe is giving you everything you need in order to act, in the moment, with certainty and vigour!
I have included this book because it is the classic that almost all Western (USA) acting technique devolves from. It has some problems in my opinion, but if you want to get a classical idea of what acting is generally conceived to be, this is the book.
This is really not a very good book except for the chapter titled: Objectives The Golden Key. This one chapter more than makes up for everything else in the book that I find trite and painfully conservative… It is basically the genius of the previous book,An Actor Prepares, distilled into its essence. If I could make multiple copies of this one chapter and hand it out as if it were The Book of the Law I just might.
Foreman is a rebel-thinker. He is going to shake things up, disturbing the safe little concepts we might have already collected about what is possible and how something should happen. He is good as a reminder that there really are no absolute rules governing how to act.