Book Review: A Practical Handbook for the Actor

This article is the first of a series of book reviews I will be presenting throughout the year. There are so many books on acting technique, career, and getting into the acting business, having someplace that is free of paid editorial reviews is highly needed. So, why not here?

There are only a few books that have stood the test of time when it comes to acting technique. One is Audition by Michael Shurtleff, and one of the other most prominent best-sellers is A Practical Handbook for the Actor.

The book is co-written by Melissa Bruder, Lee Michael Cohn, Madeleine Olnek, Nathaniel Pollack, Robert Previto and Scott Zigler. It is based upon a series of workshops by acting coach David Mamet.

The book emplores the reader to consider what is in the actor’s control and what is not. Worrying about the success or failure of a play or motion picture is futile, the authors explain, because as long as you control the things you can, the rest is simply out of your control and will happen if it means to happen.

Likewise the authors do not believe in the word talent, adding it to the list of things outside of the actor’s control. The moral of the book is put forth in its opening pages: the job of the actor is to live truthfully under the imaginary circumstances in the production.

There is a reason this book is used in theatre classes ranging from art schools to college campuses – it works. The lessons in the book will teach actors to find the truth in the scene they are performing and to identify the specific actions in the production and why they are doing them.

A highly recommended book, and a steal at $9.95 on

Buy A Practical Handbook for the Actor now.