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Being An Actor Paperback – 4 Nov 2004

8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Rev Ed edition (4 Nov. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099471957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099471950
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 286,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Pugnaciously candid... His book is a unique account of an actor's life" (Guardian)

"The most honest book ever written about us all" (Sir Ian McKellen)

"A very important book about our work" (Peter Brook)

"Impassioned, intelligent, informative, and quite simply one of the best theatre books I have read" (Financial Times)

Book Description

Completely revised and expanded with entirely new material detailing Callow's relationship with the theatre in the twenty years since Being an Actor first appeared.

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Inside This Book

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Oct. 2000
Format: Paperback
A fascinating portal through which to glimpse the way in which at least one actor became who and what he is. Simon very honsetly leads us through the formative processes which led him to the urge to act, some hilarious anecdotes about his early "slavery" in the National Theatre box office working with neanderthals, eventually to his professional training at the Drama Centre in London. He follows this up with a range of insights in to the way he grew as an actor, and the processes involved in doing his job: he is adamant that he was trained in a craft, to do a job, not following some nefarious liberal art. Always humorous and generous, this seems to be the work of a great hearted man who loves to tell stories and welcome you in to at least part of his life. Overall an admirable and addictive narrative: fascinating for anyone interested in the theatre. On a par with "The Year of the King" by Antony Sher, which is similarly but differently a great read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By joe on 13 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I absolutely adored this book and could not put it down! It runs through the wonderful fears, hopes and dreams of actors at most stages of their careers and explains the trials and tribulations we all have to go through. I would really recommend it to anyone with a performer in the family to let you really get inside their mind (scary place to be though!) haha! Brilliant book and very enjoyable!
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Format: Paperback
This is refreshingly free of the name-dropping celebrity lists and "funny" stories that are so common in the "autobiographies" (usually ghost written) by actors and other members of showbiz.

On the other hand, it certainly remains faithful to its title - "Being an Actor" - and I imagine will appeal more to theater and film professionals than the general reader.

Callow is aware of this and expresses his hope in a preface that non-actors will be interested in how acting is done.

Ten out of ten for honesty but I found the book heavy going and left the show halfway through.

There are some interesting parts of and he writes well but the detailed descriptions of acting styles, rehearsals etc. were too much for this non-actor to endure.

For those interested in more "serious" accounts of an actor's life, I recommend some of Dirk Bogarde's autobiographical series, such as "An Orderly Man" and "Snakes and Ladders".
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. E. Gosano on 18 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having bought the first edition of this book which Callow originally wrote in 1983 (and autographed for me), I was eager to read the extra ten chapters that he wrote to bring his acting experiences up to the year 2003 in this new edition.

It is important to note that Callow concentrates in this book on his work in the theatre and hardly mentions his film and TV work. He writes more on those subjects in his other book My Life In Pieces.

If you have read any of Callows other books you will know that he is a good writer and very easy to read. Whilst I had not seen most of the plays covered, Callow is always interesting. The new chapters concentrate mainly on his work but there is also mention of his several partners, his re-circumcision, his sacking by his secretary and his health problems.

The most interesting part I found is what Callow did to prepare every time he was working on the stage. This takes two pages to describe and is fascinating, as is his conditions for good acting. You will learn a lot about acting on the stage if you read this book.
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