226 Pages
    by Routledge

    226 Pages
    by Routledge

    Acting: The Basics 3rd Edition is a dynamic response to recent societal and entertainment industry changes, focusing on inclusion, diversity and equity, and the actor's trajectory from training to rehearsal to performance on stage and screen, with hands-on tools and global perspectives.


    The book offers vital ways of building a practical acting toolkit, through breath, body, voice, emotions, imagination and spirit. We begin with a socio-cultural look at actor as magician, storyteller, healer and social changer. Throughout, there are insights from Black, Indigenous, First Nations, South/East Asian, intercultural and feminist practitioners, together with methods focusing on disability and accessibility, intimacy directives, mindfulness and intersectionality. Key 'canonical' figures still feature (e.g., Stanislavsky, Meisner, Brecht and Suzuki) with re-visioned perspective. Scattered throughout are post-COVID insights, plus expanded sections on screen acting (including self-tapes) and Shakespeare.


    This book is useful for beginner or expert, as it's always helpful getting back to basics. Because the author is both an actor and an actor trainer, the tools are steeped in user-friendly application. At the same time, transferable skills (e.g., dynamic listening and empathy) are shown as relevant to everyone. With a glossary of terms and useful online suggestions (including blogs, videos and podcasts), this is ideal for anyone learn anew about the practice and history of acting, or to take their acting and teaching into new terrain.


    1. ‘Why act?’: Some socio-cultural perspectives

    2. ‘The Player and the Instrument’: Actor training

    3. ‘Systems and Methods’: 20th-century innovators

    4. ‘Building a Character’: Rehearsal processes

    5. ‘Expressing Your Creative Individuality’: 21st-century practitioners

    6. ‘And ... Action!’: Performance practices



    Bella Merlin is an actor, writer and Professor of Acting and Directing at the University of California, Riverside.

    “After searching for an inclusive text for my undergraduate acting students that incorporates consent with anticolonial and anti-racist lenses and practices, I had given up and gone without. I was starting to consider writing one myself, when I read Bella Merlin’s new edition of Acting: The Basics. It outlines a clear and concise Stanislavsky-based methodology to explore (without dogmatizing it!) and a situated, relevant history of the field. Importantly, it also expands to other theatrical traditions both in training and as examples throughout. I immediately revamped my Intermediate Acting syllabus to incorporate the text and am thrilled with the deep class discussions it has already sparked. Merlin’s conversational tone and logical framing also make it a hit with my students - a win all the way around!”

    Joelle Ré Arp-Dunham, Teaching Assistant Professor, School of Music, Theatre and Dance, Kansas State University