Wednesday, March 22, 2006

some quotes from Respect for Acting by Uta Hagen

By the very nature of our profession we seem to develop slothful rather than
disciplined habits. A great dancer to his last days cannot- and will not- perform without hours of daily practice. The pianist Artur Rubinstein and the violinist Isaac Stern cannot- and will not- play a concert without daily practice. While an actor may be forced to work as a waiter or a typist to susatain himself while waiting for the call to play King Lear, there is no excuse for his frittering away the hours that belong to him- and his true work- with partying, and fun and games.

Every actor must demand total discipline of himself if he really means to be an actor. It can be acquired if it's not already in his bones. A very gifted actor may be surpassed and outrun by a lesser talent simply because he is lazy, buckpassing, superficial- an actor settling for the easiest choices. The less-talented actor can win with a thorough, backbreaking discipline in his work, in his examination of his materials and his relationship to it, in the dedication (that much-abused word) to his work.


If I compare myself to a large, meaty, round apple, I discover that my inner and outer cliche image of myself is only a wedge of it- possibly the wedge with the rosy cheek on the skin. But I have to become aware of myself as the total apple- the firm inner flesh as well as the brown rotten spot, the stem, the seeds, the core. All of the apple is me. The more I discover, the more I realize that I have endless sources within myself to put to use in the illumination of endless characters in dramatic literature; that I am compounded of endless human beings depending on the events moving in on me, my surrounding circumstances, relationships with a variety of people, what I want and what's in my way at a given moment: all within the context of my unique identity.

and this is only from the first two chapters...

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