Skip to Content

So Therefore...

A Practical Guide For Actors

By Al Ruscio

Routledge – 2012 – 168 pages

Purchasing Options:

  • Add to CartPaperback: $28.95
    978-0-415-51672-3
    June 25th 2012
  • Add to CartHardback: $125.00
    978-0-415-51671-6
    June 25th 2012

Description

‘Every scene or action or speech has a so therefore. It is the goal, the ultimate statement of the character. You should know the so therefore as you begin your scene … The climax and the payoff is the so therefore.’ – from Al Ruscio’s Preface

When working through a scene with a student, renowned actor and acting teacher Al Ruscio will ask, ‘so therefore, what?’ to urge them to capture the specific actions and desires that define their character at that moment. So Therefore… interweaves tried-and-tested practical exercises with sound advice, and illustrative tales from Ruscio’s remarkable career, to form a training handbook as uniquely pragmatic as his favourite phrase. Breaking down his method into three broad focuses, Ruscio considers:

  • Warming Up – including relaxation, going ‘beneath the words’ and emotional recall;
  • Scene Work – ranging from character analysis to an exploration of action;
  • The Play – discovering its spine, progressing through rehearsals and sustaining a performance.

But So Therefore… also reflects wisely on such diverse subjects as Stage versus Film, and Stamina, Luck and Chutzpah. Enriching and generous, it is the culmination of a career that has taken in dozens of major motion pictures, and spans the entire history of television – as well as half a century spent training actors.

Al Ruscio graduated from the famed Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre and has been teaching acting for five decades. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Screen Actors Guild and is a current voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Reviews

'In this succinct guide, Ruscio draws on his successful 40-year career of film and stage experience and his professional acting training with Sandy Meisner at New York's Neighborhood Playhouse School. He provides a plethora of practical, thorough, realistic advice in 41 bite-size chapters organized into five parts. His goal is to provide experiences that will help actors find truth and depth in their characters at all times, and to offer useful information about scene work and rehearsal processes for beginning to intermediate actors. He breaks down the salient points about each element of acting with examples and exercises including stage versus film acting, and how stamina and luck play a part in actor's lives. Part 1, "Warming Up," is foundational yet goes beyond other texts for beginning actors by including activities based on animal and life studies for character development. In part 2, "Scene Work," Ruscio emphasizes emotional truth and the importance of finding the spine--or main force--driving the character and the play. Throughout, he shares fascinating, humorous, and inspirational anecdotes from his experiences working with actors and directors ranging from Laurence Olivier to Matt Damon. Summing Up: Highly recommended.' J. Tomalin, CHOICE

Contents

Contents

Foreword by Martin Landau v

Acknowledgments vii

Preface "So Therefore" (a few words about my title) ix

Part One: Warming Up

Introduction x

Relaxation x

Concentration xx

Imagination xx

Beneath the Words xx

Sensory Exercises xx

Improvisations xx

Animal Studies xx

Life Studies xx

Emotional Recall xx

Part Two: Scene Work

Character Analysis xx

The Spine of the Play xx

The Spine of the Character xx

Your Objective in the Scene xx

Actions in the Scene xx

The As If xx

Preparation xx

Scenes xx

Part Three: The Play

Introduction xx

Read the Play xx

The Main Idea and Special Quality xx

The Climax xx

Character Analysis xx

The Spine of your Character xx

Rehearsals Begin xx

Elements of Characterization xx

The Use of Improvisations xx

Blocking Sessions xx

Detailed Work On Each Act xx

Run-Throughs xx

Dress Rehearsals xx

Opening Night and Beyond xx

Part Four: Stage versus Film

Projecting versus Being xxx

The Scene versus the Shot xxx

Opposing Views xxx

Part Five: Stamina, Luck, and Chutzpah,

& Other Lessons

Stamina, Luck, and Chutzpah xxx

Remembering Lear xxx

The Semi-Final Lesson xxx

The Final Lesson xxx

About the Author xxx

References xxx

Author Bio

Al Ruscio graduated from the famed Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre and has been teaching acting for five decades. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Screen Actors Guild and is a current voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Name: So Therefore...: A Practical Guide For Actors (Paperback)Routledge 
Description: By Al Ruscio. ‘Every scene or action or speech has a so therefore. It is the goal, the ultimate statement of the character. You should know the so therefore as you begin your scene … The climax and the payoff is the so therefore.’...
Categories: Theatre & Performance Studies, Practice & Practitioners, Acting