One of our most brilliantly iconoclastic playwrights takes on the art of profession of acting with these words: invent nothing, deny nothing, speak up, stand up, stay out of school. Acting schools, “interpretation,” “sense memory,” “The Method”—David Mamet takes a jackhammer to the idols of contemporary acting, while revealing the true heroism and nobility of the craft. He shows actors how to undertake auditions and rehearsals, deal with agents and directors, engage audiences, and stay faithful to the script, while rejecting the temptations that seduce so many of their colleagues. Bracing in its clarity, exhilarating in its common sense, True and False is as shocking as it is practical, as witty as it is instructive, and as irreverent as it is inspiring.
"The job of the actor is to communicate the play to the audience, not to bother it with his or her good intentions and insights and epiphanies about the ways this or that character might use a handkerchief--these are the concerns of second-class minds." So writes Mamet, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, director and teacher in this extremely blunt, unorthodox and shocking treatise on the profession of acting. He remarks that "Stanislavsky was essentially an amateur" and goes on to attack method acting and its proponents. He challenges the performer to be a daring individualist by staying away from formal acting schools: "Part of the requirements of a life in the theater is to stay out of school....Formal education for the player is not only useless, but harmful." And he goes on to say, "Let me be impolite: most teachers of acting are frauds." Mamet stresses that there are no set rules and refuses to define what talent is: "I don't know what talent is, and, frankly, I don't care. I do not think it is the actor's job to be interesting. I think that is the job of the script. I think it is the actor's job to be truthful and brave." This controversial book will anger many in the profession but may also inspire because of its brashness and daring.