The founder and director of the Yale Repertory Theater, as well as Harvard's American Repertory Theater, and a drama critic for more than thirty years, Robert Brustein is a living legend in theatrical circles. Letters to a Young Actor not only inspires the multitudes of struggling dramatists out pounding the pavement, but also reinvigorates the very state of the art of acting itself.
This smart, nononsense primercumdirective on the art and science of acting comes stocked with information and peppered with anecdotes that will inspire the ambitious actor, despite the daunting nature of Brustein's curricula. Brustein, founder and director of the Yale Repertory Theatre and Harvard's American Repertory Theatre, is no lightweight, and this book may come as a shock to those who think acting is something innate and easy. Drawing on his 40plus years of experience as an actor, director and dramaturge, Brustein explores what makes a good actor. Talent is essential, but insight, knowledge, reading, researching and a host of other explorations of both the human psyche and the history of literature and theater are necessary for an actor to have the range of some of Brustein's former students (Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver and Christopher Walken among them). Get a good liberal arts education, Brustein tells aspiring actors. Get a job to pay the rent and student loans while auditioning. Make numerous friendsthese friendships will turn into jobs later in life. Most important, maintain a balance between performing and a personal life and remember that the best actors are all, at core, character actors. This is a sharp, accessible but far from simplistic Cliffs Notes on being an actor.