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True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor Paperback – 18 May 1998


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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; New Ed edition (18 May 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571192610
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571192618
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.1 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Mamet manages to demolish the myths...that pass for theory with regard o acting and directing. . . "True and False" is a revealing book of the highest order and a pleasure to read"--Anthony Hopkins "Hard-edged, pragmatic and idealistic. . . . Every actor or would-be actor should read this book."--"Chicago Tribune "" " "Trenchant...Meet's pared-down, occasionally cryptic prose can make powerful sense."--"The New York Times"" " "This book should be read and considered by everyone who acts."--Steve Martin" "

Book Description

True and False by David Mamet is an invaluable guide to the acting profession, slaughtering a wide range of sacred cows with the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright's characteristic unsparing honesty.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Mar. 1999
Format: Paperback
Mamet's spare, angry demolition of the nonsense spoken about "great" acting is like pure oxygen to those of us who have harboured - but dared not express - nagging doubts about The Method, Stanislavsky, and a million other shibboleths masquerading as theatrical "wisdom".
His book is brief, practical, important, brave. It's a book to be wrestled with, argued over, acted on.
Actors - read it. Directors, agents, casting directors, staple it to your eyeballs.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Earl Hazell on 17 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback
"You readers are of a generation that would like to stay in school...You will encounter in your travels folks of your own age who chose the institutional path, who became the arts administrators rather than the writers. These folks chose to serve an institutional authority in exchange for a paycheck, and these folks are going to be with you for the rest of your life, and you actors and writers and people who come up off the street, who live without certainty day to day and year to year are going to have to bear with being called children by these institutional types...It is not childish to live with uncertainty, to devote oneself to a craft rather than a career, to an idea rather than an institution. It's courageous and requres a courage of the order that the institutionally co-opted are ill equipped to perceive. They are so unequipped to perceive it that they can only call it childish, and so excuse their exploitation of you.
"...Any system built on belief functions through the operations of guilt and hypocrisy. Such a system, whether of acting training, meditation, self-improvement, etc., functions as a psuedo-religion, and is predicated on the individual's knowledge of his or her own worthlessness. The system holds itself out as the alleviator, cleanser, and redeemer of the guilty individual."
"...The Stanislavsky 'Method,' and the techniques of the schools derived from it, is nonsense. It is not a technique out of the practice of which one develops a skill--it is a cult.
"Concetration cannot be forced. It is a survival mechanism and an adaptive mechanism, and it will not stand down and stop making its own connections simply because we'd like it to. Acting, finally, has nothing whatever to do with the ability to concentrate.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Aug. 1999
Format: Paperback
In this slim volume, Mamet lays waste to the oppressive quasi-religious method nonsence that confuses and ruins so many actors. He describes the Business as it is - a chaotic free-for-all where not only the lucky but also the brave succeed. READ IT - sack your agent, sell your house and put on a play....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alice Brockway on 30 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've worked professionally as an actor for years but have only recently got round to reading this book - I wish someone had handed it to me sooner. It's a really insightful view into the practicalities of living and working as an actor and it strips back so many of those frustrating and pretentious ideas that are so often bandied around the theatre world. Down to earth and refreshing. If you perform, write or direct please read this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By dungbeetle on 31 May 2011
Format: Paperback
Mamet here provides a exceptionally well written provocative view on the nature of acting. He spends a large portion of the book dismissing the method school of acting and destroys many concepts and techniques commonly used in theater. However, he spends very little time on how actors should actually act, which is rather unsatisfying.
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Format: Paperback
Actors need this book because it does two things very well. First thing is it challenges the ideas you may have been taught while training and encourages you to think for yourself, rather than using the ideas of a particular practitioner or institution as a crutch. Secondly, it puts into words some of the feelings you may have had but didn't know how to describe. Heresy and Common Sense. If you've ever spouted garbage about the merits of one practitioner over another this book will also make you realize that you were talking like a douchebag ... and any book that lessens the number of douchebag actors in the world deserves special mention.
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By LuuLuu on 11 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
EVERY ACTOR - or anyone serious about acting - or anyone with a block - or anyone going through a dry spell - or anyone who is a director or anyone who is a producer - or anyone who is a writer - READ THIS DAMN BOOK - AND NOW!!! I cant even sing its praises enough! Such an interesting and brutally frank point of view. Cuts through a LOT of nonsense you hear regularly. And there is a lot of nonsense. Or at least a lot of good stuff that perhaps becomes nonsense in how it becomes theory. Either way - Great Great Great material!! Cuts through crap like CiLLit bang cuts through Grease! (ha) but really - GREAT book
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. O'Shea on 8 April 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
probably the best book on acting/training/auditioning i have ever read. really encouraging, iinformative, inspirational and motivational. Buy it. read it. love i. i promise you!
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