Learn how and when to remove this template message True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor by David Mamet is an instructional book on acting , and the life and habits of the successful actor. In it, Mamet outlines his thoughts on acting, and gives advice for those practicing the craft and for aspiring practitioners. In the book, Mamet derides the practice of teaching drama students the system of Constantin Stanislavski or method acting of Lee Strasberg. He also argues that the accomplishments of the Method "greats" Brando , De Niro et al. Mamet advocates an acting process that posits that acting is a craft born out of the repeated application of a few straightforward, basic principles. Mamet uses the book to speak out against such practices as emotional preparation and the creation of an imaginary world in which to live while acting.
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Holy cow, what an incredible book. Cutting through all the bs of acting training and methods, he eloquently states the purpose of the actor. I collect quotes, and in almost every paragraph of this book, I found myself wanting to write down his words. Finally I gave up on writing, and just decided that this will just have to be a book that I read over and over again.
Jun 22, Ryan rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: disaffected college students Shelves: theatre here, mamet offers his view and interpretation of what really good acting is, and it can be most effectively distilled as a quotation: "Invent nothing. Deny nothing. He believes that his ideas are right--and that everyone else is wrong. And while I do believe that, for the most part, less is more for acting, especially on film, at the same time, there have so many wonderful, completely believable performances with actors acting "big.
Tough Guy Mamet. His idea, however, that good acting is a courageous battle with the unknown is, I think, sound. Any actor who is too comfortable acting is most likely not really engaging with the material and the circumstances at all. Rather than expressing his feelings, Caul keeps them all bottled up inside, which is a familiar habit of many, many human beings yet not of many actors. The fact that he was uncomfortable in the role indicates that he really was living moment to moment in a very horrible situation.
This book seems to exist just so Mamet can tell people that everything he did was right, and everything everyone else does is wrong. He is largely known as a playwright, and tells actors not to think about character or anything complicated, that the playwright is to do that. He also says that all acting teachers are frauds and not to trust them, that acting talent is ingrown and cannot be taught.
He seems to have caught on to the fact that acting is hard, but rather than dig deeper and try for an understanding of the process, has decided that throwing his hands up in the air and admitting defeat is somehow a conclusion to be told to others. He does however, give some general principles about acting - which sound very similar to the acting theory that I learned in one of my acting textbooks, from one of those fraudulent teachers.
His complex jumbled style works well in plays because they hint at complex characters underneath while being evocative and memorable - but it is not suited to this kind of nonfiction where clarity is king.
True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor
True and False