Practical Acting Books

There are many great acting theory and technique books out there. Far too many to list here.

Below are three practical ones. They’re all short, yet pack a punch. They’re filled with strategies you can use for your auditions, rehearsal or performance.

(1) “A Practical Handbook For The Actor” by Melissa Bruder, Lee Michael Cohn, Madeleine Olnek, Nathaniel Pollack, Robert Previtio, and Scott Zigler. All members or worked with The Atlantic Theatre Company in New York.

My first acting teacher and mentor Kurt Naebig introduced me to this one in Chicago. Even though his class and the school relied heavily on “Audition” by Michael Shurtleff (another amazing book!), Kurt was great about pulling material from all kinds of different texts and sources. Chapter Two on Actions is worth the price of the book alone.

Side note: When I moved to Los Angeles I sought out The Atlantic Theatre (they just started a West Coast conservatory program). I had the privilege of studying with Lee Cohn (a great teacher) and one of the authors of the book! It’s also where Vs. Theatre Company was born (another blog post for another time).

(2) “Tips: Ideas For Actors” by Jon Jory. One great tip I remember and have used…If you don’t know what to do with your hands or are self conscious, put a toothpick in your pocket. It’ll give you some behavior and something to play with, which in turn, gets you out of your head.

(3) “An Actor’s Companion: Tools For The Working Actor” by Seth Barrish (Thank you Paul Stein for recommending this one.). Culled from Mr. Barrish’s lifelong experience as an actor, director, and teacher, the book is chock full of great ideas to experiment with. It offers solutions to common problems that occur in rehearsal or performance.

Give them a read. Let me know what you think. And if you have any other great acting books to recommend, please put in the comments or email me!

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