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The Actor's Art and Craft: William Esper Teaches the Meisner TechniqueThe Actor’s Art and Craft: William Esper Teaches the Meisner Technique by William Esper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For The Actor’s Art and Craft to succeed, the writing must pull the reader directly into the class — it must be experiential, not merely intellectual. That’s exactly what the book has achieved.

Page after page the Esper and DiMarco invade your space and open you up to the challenges of the actor. You become the student, receiving the teachings directly — there is no cold, erudite curtain filtering the personal nature of what’s happening in Bill’s classes. Acting is visceral. It pushes buttons, stirs memories, demands vulnerability and confidence in equal measures. Intellect is circumspect — you have to learn volumes, then let go of thinking.

Throughout the book, descriptive writing successfully evokes emotional texture while substantive dialogue makes scene work and discovery fully palpable. I expected to learn technical facets of the actor’s experience. I expected to gain practical insight into acting’s complexity and particular challenges. What I didn’t expect was to be so richly entertained.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story and finds the inner workings of the human psyche as compelling as I do. For actors, aspiring and/or seasoned, I imagine The Actor’s Art and Craft must be an essential companion. For writers, novelists, storytellers — this is a lovely complement to books on literary craft.

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