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An Actress Prepares

Women and "the Method"

By Rosemary Malague

Routledge – 2012 – 254 pages

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    978-0-415-68157-5
    January 31st 2012
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    978-0-415-68156-8
    January 31st 2012

Description

'Every day, thousands of women enter acting classes where most of them will receive some variation on the Stanislavsky-based training that has now been taught in the U.S. for nearly ninety years. Yet relatively little feminist consideration has been given to the experience of the student actress: What happens to women in Method actor training?'

An Actress Prepares is the first book to interrogate Method acting from a specifically feminist perspective. Rose Malague addresses "the Method" not only with much-needed critical distance, but also the crucial insider's view of a trained actor. Case studies examine the preeminent American teachers who popularized and transformed elements of Stanislavsky’s System within the U.S.—Strasberg, Adler, Meisner, and Hagen— by analyzing and comparing their related but distinctly different approaches.

This book confronts the sexism that still exists in actor training and exposes the gender biases embedded within the Method itself. Its in-depth examination of these Stanislavskian techniques seeks to reclaim Method acting from its patriarchal practices and to empower women who act.

'I've been waiting for someone to write this book for years: a thorough-going analysis and reconsideration of American approaches to Stanislavsky from a feminist perspective … lively, intelligent, and engaging.' – Phillip Zarrilli, University of Exeter

'Theatre people of any gender will be transformed by Rose Malague’s eye-opening study An Actress Prepares… This book will be useful to all scholars and practitioners determined to make gender equity central to how they hone their craft and their thinking.' – Jill Dolan, Princeton University

Reviews

'I've been waiting for someone to write this book for years: a thorough-going analysis and reconsideration of American approaches to Stanislavsky from a feminist perspective … lively, intelligent, and engaging.' – Phillip Zarrilli, University of Exeter

'Theatre people of any gender will be transformed by Rose Malague’s eye-opening study An Actress Prepares. Women performers have long needed this trenchant analysis of the craft of method acting, one that intervenes in its more sexist tendencies. Rejecting the common admonition, "Don’t think, act," Malague suggests that you can both think and act. This book will be useful to all scholars and practitioners determined to make gender equity central to how they hone their craft and their thinking.' – Jill Dolan, Princeton University

'It’s an interesting read for anyone seriously interested in drama education theory and the differences between US and British practice…' - Susan Elkin, Teaching Drama

‘Vigorously and persuasively positioning ‘feminist consideration of Method actor training’ as ‘not passé’, but ‘past due’, Malague’s book not only robustly highlights the gendered techniques and assumptions underlying the training, but displays the potential of these techniques to become sources of empowerment for the female actor.’ – Alissa Clark, New Theatre Quarterly

'In returning to the image of Monroe, whose experience exemplifies the most damaging elements of Method training, we recognize that Malague has given us a sharply drawn feminist critique of our actor-training history and practical applications for transforming its future.' - Daydrie Hague, Theatre Topics

Contents

Acknowledgments 1. The "Given Circumstances" 2. Emotional Control: Lee Strasberg as "Big Daddy" of the Method 3. Script Analysis: Stella Adler’s Feminist Subtext 4. Exercises in Repetition: Sanford Meisner and "Instinct" 5. Respect for the Actress: Uta Hagen on Playing Female Roles 6. The "Magic If": Forward-Looking Conclusions Notes Bibliography Index

Author Bio

Rosemary Malague is the director of the Theatre Arts Program and a senior lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania. She holds a doctorate in theatre from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Related Subjects

  1. Gender & Sexuality
  2. Acting

Name: An Actress Prepares: Women and "the Method" (Paperback)Routledge 
Description: By Rosemary Malague. 'Every day, thousands of women enter acting classes where most of them will receive some variation on the Stanislavsky-based training that has now been taught in the U.S. for nearly ninety years. Yet relatively little feminist consideration has...
Categories: Gender & Sexuality, Acting