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Actions: The Actors' Thesaurus by Marina…

Actions: The Actors' Thesaurus

by Marina Caldarone

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After having acted for over 35 years, I'm trying to further hone my skills by taking on some formal training. This is one of the books that have been recommended to me.

The American school of acting that began with the Group Theatre took off from Stanislavsky's work and created its own distinct branch. That branch says that an actor doesn't (or shouldn't) try to reproduce an emotion or a "quality", but should always be playing an action. Something that can be encompassed in the form of a transitive verb. That's not to say that there is no emotion involved in acting, but that the emotion comes naturally while doing.

This book is as the title suggests: a thesaurus. An actor is supposed to use it by breaking down a script into moments. Each moment is a sentence, idea, or a silence the length of a breath. Each one is assigned an action. You can play around by exchanging one action for another.

I'm going to try to incorporate this into the next role I play and see how it works for me. I gave the book four stars based on how intriguing the concept is and how well it has apparently worked for others. If it works like a charm for me, I'll upgrade it to five. ( )
  EricKibler | Apr 6, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0896762521, Paperback)

ACTIONS: The Actors' Thesaurus is a vital companion for actors in rehearsal—a thesaurus of action words to revitalize performance.

Actors need actions. Actors cannot ‘act’ adjectives, they need verbs. Verbs are an aim to achieve, an action to perform.

‘Actions’ are active verbs. ‘I tempt you.’ ‘You taunt me.’ In order to perform an action truthfully--and therefore convincingly-- an actor needs to find exactly the right action to suit that particular situation and that particular line. That is where this book comes in….

ACTIONS is a thesaurus of active verbs that the actor can use to refine performance until s/he hits exactly the right one to help make the action come alive. ACTIONS: The Actors’ Thesaurus by Marina Caldarone & Maggie Lloyd-Williams has gathered together the (formerly) dogged-eared photocopied lists of action verbs from greenrooms and rehearsal rooms and put them together in this pocket-sized thesaurus. All with a view to helping actors get to the heart of meaning and to a great performance. This thesaurus of action words is indispensable in developing mood, line readings, and acting choices for each and every line.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:48 -0400)

"Actors need actions. They cannot act moods. They need to be doing something with every line. They need verbs. They need an aim to achieve, and an action selected to help achieve that aim." "'Actions' are active verbs. In order to perform a line truthfully, the actor needs to find exactly the right action to suit that particular situation and that particular line. That is where this book comes in." "It is a thesaurus of active verbs, with which the actor can refine the acting choice until s/he hits exactly the right action to help make each line come alive. 'Actioning' is a widely used rehearsal and performance technique: this book makes it available for the first time in an organised and comprehensive form."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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