In Los Angeles and beyond, all productions, on-camera auditions and in-person classes have ceased. Yes – this predicament we are in royally sucks.
That said, this makes for a great time to stay connected to our passion. What better way to do that than by curling up and reading a great acting book? It’s certainly better than reading anxiety-inducing news.
Either way, every once in a while it’s refreshing to read a great book about acting. Like any good book, we can read them at different times in our lives, at different ages, and glean different things from them.
Classic Books About Acting
Some of these books made me want to act, others have been memorable workbooks and yet others are great history books. These acting books all inspired me in one way or another and have taught me about my own acting process.
- The Fervent Years, by Harold Clurman
- An Actor Prepares, by Konstantin Stanislavski
- Respect for Acting, by Uta Hagen
- The Art of Acting, by Stella Adler
- A Dream of Passion, by Lee Strasberg
- On the Technique of Acting, by Michael Chekhov
- Sanford Meisner on Acting, by Sanford Meisner
- True & False, by David Mamet
- Improvisation for the Theater, by Viola Spolin
- Towards a Poor Theater, Jerzy Grotowski
The New Acting Books
I love modern books as well, because acting and teaching have evolved so much.
My personal favorite is written by my teacher at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, Allen Barton. Not only is it a great history book (the school’s founder, Milton Katselas ran legendary classes and is a colorful character to say the least), but the writer is also a grounded, no-nonsense person whose approach to studying and working in Los Angeles is simple, clean, pragmatic and healthy.
- The Oasis of Insanity, by Allen Barton
- The Intent to Live, by Larry Moss
- Acting Class, , by Milton Katselas
- Audition, by Michael Shurtleff
Even beyond the Coronavirus, as actors we sometimes forget that we had a fire burning underneath us when we started. This fire may have gone out, or it might only burn embers. Why not read a great book about acting to reignite the flame? Perhaps it will inspire you to write and shoot a great part for yourself, push you towards more challenging material in class, or even get you enrolled in a class (once life resumes).
My name is Lili Wexu, I am a Canadian-American actress. I moved to Los Angeles some years ago and I’ve written a few e-books about acting in Los Angeles to help other actors who are considering relocating here (or have recently relocated).