Arrived on time and for an ex-library book, in remarkably good condition. Harriet Walter is candid and engaging on a wide range of issues around the theatre and acting in this medium. She expounds on Stanislavsky, the Method, the personality of the actor, and many more intriguing, but rarely explored facets of the acting profession. As a jobbing actor I can relate to many if not all of them. I admired her admission of not discovering the work of Shakespeare expert John Barton and Voice Teacher Cicely Berry until she was in her 30s but, what characterises her dynamic personality is the curiousity and exploration into the craft and that makes this book a must-read for any actor regardless of where they are in their learning or careers.
SUCH A TIMELESS, INCREDIBLE AND UNPRETENTIOUS BODY of writing!!
I stumbled across it by accident and glad that I did! I recommend over and over and over again! For actors, for general reading, for people interested in the world of acting - such hoem truths and it explains what you find difficult to explain as an actor - the stuff that is so real and makes you sound 'w*nky'! ha ! Great book
Writing about the acting process is fiercely difficult process - most actors are at a complete loss for words when asked to desribe what they do - and this book is most successful when Walter is writing about her life as an actor rather than describing acting exercises. Much of the material she does include on acting technique is better covered in Max Stafford-Clark's "Letters to George". Walter herself is adamant in the introduction that this is not a manual on acting, but simply, as the title suggests, a collection of thoughts that grew out of conversations with a journalist friend. Having said that (and got my one criticism of the book out of the way) this is a really lovely read. She is a candid and vulnerable writer, with a disarmingly unselfconscious wit. I read this on the tube (London Underground) in 15 min chunks each morning and evening, and felt as though I had had a wonderful travelling companion to distract me from the sweaty, irritable hoards that filled the train. Thank you, Harriet - you have been great company.
Harriet Walter provides the reader with intelligent, erudite, honest and frequently hilarious insights into the life of a working actor. This is not an autobiography. Rather, it is the accumulation of thoughts and opinions acquired throughout a varied and distinguished career in acting. She concentrates on certain periods in her working life at times - formative experiences that are always enlightening and truthful - whilst, at other points, she focusses on various aspects of the actor's craft. This is not a pretentious book in any sense. It retains,to it's credit, an acute sense of being down to earth, whilst addressing key areas of working in the theatre.It is a refreshing blend of personal reflection, critical analysis and anecdotal recollection. It is an immensely enjoyable book about a notoriously difficult subject. Harriet Walter does not fall into the trap of theorising etc.. Instead she puts herself before you in the pages of the book - much as an actor does on stage. Anyone interested in the theatre, or indeed working in it, will be thoroughly rewarded in reading this book - excellent!
As a actor-in-training, it is nice to pick up a book that offers a lot of profound insights on acting without being depressingly preachy and uptight. Walter offers acting exercises that she has found useful, describes her rehearsal process, and talks about her acting life in general. She also offers us some wonderful anecdotes about her life in theatre... sometimes funny, sometimes touching, always lovely to learn. Like the previous reviewer, I found this book to be not what I expected... but something a lot better. Unlike many other books on acting I've read, this one left wishing I could grab Harriet Walter and get to know her better and/or work with her (as opposed to closing the book, sighing and thanking god that I live nowhere near her).
Rather than a tell-all, acting manual, or autobiography, this is a profound yet funny book about acting and life. Not what I had expected, but an amazing insight into a wonderful actor. Ms. Walter, please write some more!!
I am someone intersted generally in theatre and trying to be a part of an educated audience, hence I was after a book that would give me an insight into the actor's work and will allow me to appreciate even more what actors are doing on stage. I bought a second hand hard cover copy. I can say the book is very entertaining and written with honesty. I am not a drama student and I don't know how practical it is for drama students, but for em was an excellent way to understand what actors feel on stage every night being in someone else's shoes.