Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Reading List Recommendation: A DREAM OF PASSION

I've titled this post a "Reading List Recommendation" as if that's a thing I do -- recommend books for some exclusive Five-Trick Pony Book Club or something (move over, Oprah!) -- because it gives the illusion that there's continuity and purpose to my blog.

But seriously, the book I'm going to recommend is a must-read for aspiring actor-folk who are serious about improving their craft and who (like me) have struggled to understand and focus their ongoing practice.

The book is called A DREAM OF PASSION and is written by Lee Strasberg, eminent teacher/actor/director/theoretician. You might know him from the highly revered Actor's Studio in New York City (although he is not to be confused with James Lipton, the bearded dude who interviews famous people in front of an audience of actor-students, and asks for literal answers to rhetorical questions, like, "Up....or down?" (FYI: Lee Strasberg is deceased, James Lipton is not)).

Anyway. Per the recommendation of my acting coach, I have just now finished A DREAM OF PASSION and have found it wonderfully affirming. If you've ever struggled to articulate or conceptualize the process of finding out who you are as an actor -- your weaknesses, your goals, your impetus for improving -- this book is like a warm bath filled with epsom salt wisdom, gooey bath pearls of encouragement, and floating rose petals of clarity and direction. While much of its prose is technical and/or historical, I found myself smiling throughout the read, stumbling upon countless "aha!" moments, as Strasberg crystallizes questions I've long struggled to put into words, and, in the most clear, detailed and ordered manner, deconstructs the oft-referenced but rarely understood "Method."

In summary: he teaches yous guys how to act good.

If you've read A DREAM OF PASSION, feel free to submit comments below... And if you haven't read it: read it!

Enjoy!
--FR

6 comments:

  1. "this book is like a warm bath filled with epsom salt wisdom, gooey bath pearls of encouragement, and floating rose petals of clarity and direction"

    FOR THE WIN. Literary fireworks, dear. Literary fireworks.
    I am drawing myself such a bath post haste.

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  2. I'm not even an actor and this makes me want to read this book anyway!

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  3. I live around the corner from the Lee Strasberg Theater. I pass it every day on my way to the blessed Q Train, that takes me to Broadway. As I walk by, I think of the brilliant actors who have walked through those doors. Quite a list. I'll read this book for sure, even though I have no aspirations along those lines. I just like to feel the magic you actors radiate from the stage. Magic, I say again.

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  4. Me, too! It sounds as if Strasberg may have written words of wisdom beneficial for life's journey, not exclusively the stage.

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  5. So happy you qualified the fact that Lee Strasberg has nothing and in truth less than nothing to do with James Lipton.

    -MJB

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  6. I'm merely a singer-type person, but found "On Method Acting" by E. Dwight Easty very interesting. It was recommended (not personally!) by Johnny Depp on, yes, The Actor's Studio program.

    So this is a good one too, then? Well, I'll just have to pick one up when I want to broaden my artistic horizons once again!

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