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Being an Actor by Simon Callow

Being an Actor

by Simon Callow

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A well-written and interesting biographical work, as well as an exposition of the art and life of an actor. ( )
  JessamyJane | Feb 20, 2010 |
From Publishers Weekly
"Callow was told by master performer Michael MacLiammoir that he was "a born writer, perhaps, but not a born actor." He went on to become not only a most versatile actor, but with this book becomes an accomplished commentator on the theater. What makes Callow's memoir of the familiar uncertainties of an actor's life pleasurable is this actor's eccentricity. He revels in spinning tales of failed shows, arrogant directors, Oscar Wilde reincarnations such as MacLiammoir, who became Callow's first mentor, and the craziness of the profession. Stardom doesn't seem to be a preoccupation with him, and the adventure of creating unique characterizations, such as his Orlando in As You Like It, is perhaps his reward, especially when he astonished London with his portrayal of Mozart in the original staging of Amadeus. Callow is opinionated and an outspoken protector of the performer's right to interpret character, but he finds today's actors at the mercy of ambitious directors: the director "has interposed himself between actor and writer, claiming that they cannot speak each other's language."
  mmckay | Apr 27, 2006 |
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without whom this book would never have been written, and my grandmother, Vera Guise, without whom there would have been nothing to write about.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140076824, Paperback)

A new edition of the classic book for actors starting their careers, with new material

Few actors have ever been more eloquent, more honest, or more entertaining about their life and their profession than Simon Callow, one of the finest actors of his time and increasingly one of the most admired writers about the theater.

Beginning with the letter to Laurence Olivier that produced his first theatrical job to his triumph as Mozart in the original production of Amadeus, Callow takes us with him on his progress through England’s rich and demanding theater: his training at London’s famed Drama Centre, his grim and glorious apprenticeship in the provincial theater, his breakthrough at the Joint Stock Company, and then success at Olivier’s National Theatre are among the way stations.

Callow provides a guide not only to the actor’s profession but also to the intricacies of his art, from unemployment—“the primeval slime from which all actors emerge and to which, inevitably, they return”—to the last night of a long run.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:25 -0400)

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