A Practical Manual for Spectators of Theatre, Cinema and Television



























9 where shall we begin?

The Hopeless Art of Watching Actors   9; The Basic Techniques   10; The Objects Rule. Liv Ullmann’s Canapé and Glenn Close’s Bed   12; Emphasised Actions and Imaginary Objects. Cary Grant Shaves Himself with Eva Marie Saint’s Razor   17; The Empty Stage and the Crowded Stage   20; A New Way of Acting   25; Real Actions on the Stage. How to Tend a Wound   27


31 two types of characters

What is Cliché Acting?   31; The Acting of Clichés. From Spaghetti Westerns to Mafia Bosses   32; Ways of Avoiding Clichés   34; The Character as Type. From Molière to Marilyn Monroe   36; The Character Becomes an Individual and the Tragic Hero Opens His Own Front Door   39


43 emphatising: techniques and tricks

Emphatising in the Past and Now   43; Techniques and Devices. The Ghost Scene   47; What is “Emotional Memory”   49; The Boleslavky Principle and Its Effects. From Marlon Brando to Bette Davis   50; The “Retention” Effect. Why an Actor’s First Entrance is so Difficult   54; How to Recognise “Emotional Echo”. Two Ways of Acting Surprises   56


59 physical sensations and the character’s unconscious

Physical Sensations and the Reduction Technique   59; A Variant   61; The Game of Levels of Consciousness. The Cup and Music   63; “Subsidiary Gestures” and the Character’s Unconscious. Another Look at Objects on Stage   64


68 pretending and imitating

The Useless Strategies of Empathy and the Role of Acting Manuals   68; How to Weep, Become Pale and Make Your Hair Stand on End Without Being in the Least Bit Envolved   70; Why Pretending is Not Enough   74; Actors and Their Support Structure. Laurence Olivier and Richard III’s Nose   75; Type-Casting. Why the Actor Must Not Look Like His Character   78; The Function of Make-Up   80; How the Actor Changes into the Character. Tina Fey Becomes Sarah Palin   82; The Chamaleon Actor. From Garrick to Peter Sellers   84


88 the techniques of imitation

The Actor Indicates the Character. The Effects of the Techniques of Imitation   88; Another Look at Types and a Definition of “Character Actors”   90; Emphasising and Comic Effects. A Long Discussion   94; Different Forms of Imitation. From Grace Kelly to Petrolini   98; Dario Fo and the Creators of Objects   101; From Chaplin to Totò. Creators of Language   103


108 intertwining of techniques, the attention of the audience and the actor’s timing

“Factitious Feeling” and Stanislavski’s Moustache   108; Conquering the Audience and Kean’s Defeat   112; The Actor as Narrator. The Importance of Canned Laughter   114; The Stage as Playing Field. Why an Actor Must Not Be Upstaged   116; The Plumber and the Actor. The Purpose of Concentration   119; Timing and the Device of Expectation   122; The Art of the Pause and the Actor’s Rhythm   124


127 the screen and the stage

The Cine Camera Learns to Act   127; The Wonders of Editing   131; The Lunacies of Dubbing   133; The False Realism of the Stage   137; The Construction of Dialogues   140


143 the final technique of the actor’s art

The Stage and the Set   143; The Absence of an Audience and the Camera’s Eye   144; The Overkill Effect   146; How This Can Be Avoided   148; Passive Acting and the Deep Technique of the Actor’s Art   150