November 11, 2018 posted by

One of our most brilliantly iconoclastic playwrights takes on the art of profession of acting with these words: invent nothing, deny nothing, speak up. The Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, director and teacher has written a blunt, unsparingly honest guide to acting. In True and False David Mamet overturns. True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor: : David Mamet: Books.

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True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor by David Mamet

It’s definitely not a technique book, but I feel strongly that ANY person pursuing art as a profession, in otherwords, any artist, should strongly relate to and enjoy and benefit from Mamet’s personal wisdom.

Published February 22nd by Vintage first published He also argues that the accomplishments of the Method “greats” BrandoDe Niro et al. He wants actors “to say the words as simply as possible. I don’t through at least half of the book. Apr 26, Patrick rated it liked it.

In it, Mamet outlines his thoughts on acting, and gives advice for those practicing the craft and for aspiring practitioners. A Practical Handbook for the Actor. Dec 01, John rated it really liked it. To do so the actor needs a strong voice, superb diction, a supple, well-proportioned body and a rudimentary understanding of the play. Picture Mamet swinging a massive fire axe. To ask other readers questions about True and Falseplease sign up.

True and False

Mamet is unmistakably clear about why he thinks actors should not be taken in by such highly touted notions as “the arc” of the character or the play, “substitution,” “sense-memory,” the Method itself–in fact, by most of what is being taught in acting schools and workshops across the country today. He leaves no aspect of acting untouched: All in all, there are interesting nuggets, but it was so interspersed with other things that I felt were very misleading, and therefore not really worth the time.


They stand perched on plyths, cast in ridiculous postures designed to inspire cheap awe rather than to reveal any truth about form.

Aug 27, Damon rated it it was amazing. Trivia About True and False: Mamet is nothing if not a provocateur, and you’ll probably read this having an ongoing argument in your head with him. I didn’t understand how the applied to the story being told.

Now picture all the statues of False Gods which occupy the Garden. He recommends a simple, ‘honest’ style of acting, where the actor’s job is to learn the lines, find their mark, and speak up simply.

On the Nature and Purpose of Drama. Articles needing additional references from August All articles needing additional references All stub articles. Argues that the techniques taught in acting school, and in particular the famous Stanislavsky Method, mislead aspiring actors, and suggests ways for performers to remain true to the characters they present.

And c’mon, the fact he says there’s no arc to a play or character? Mamet knows that, he’s just being Mamet. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? I think it’s the actor’s job as well to develop a character Mamet cringed again.

There were definitely some great thoughts offered in this book. Any actor who is too comfortable acting is most likely not really engaging with the material and the circumstances at all. Macy can pull it off because he is always riding a wave of in-the-moment thought that is so real and unselfish, but whenever I’ve watched a film of Mamet’s I can’t help but think the thought process of his actors is “Ok I can’t do this, I can’t feel this, just delivering the line, trusting the line, Ok here’s my line” which is, in effect, exactly the overinternalizing claptrap Mamet warns against.

Uta’s method, for reaching an emotional peak, which is infinitely more helpful, is simply: In the book, Mamet derides the practice of teaching drama students the system of Constantin Stanislavski or method acting of Lee Strasberg. This book gets five stars because I hate the book so much that I love it.

As I see it, when you get right down to it, Mamet and Meisner are after the same thing, and it felt like Mamet was artificially distinguishing himself from other “methods”. Though I disagree with some of the writing, and I remain undecided about much of it, I continue to be inspired by his perspective. Mamet’s distinction is that the performer shouldn’t need to actually experience the implied emotions and memory internally in order to tell the story.

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Jan 18, Megan Lambert rated it it was amazing. Spencer Tracy used to say that the actor’s job was to “know your lines and don’t bump into the furniture” which David Mamet has managed to turn into a slim book-length rant against Method acting and drama schools.

He’s a little more bothersome because he’s very accomplished and respected so he tends to come at everything from a position of “I must be right because I’m more accomplished and respected” and that can be tiresome without a doubt. Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations. It’s simple, but simple is never easy. Retrieved from ” https: This is so far the worst book on acting I’ve read. It may be heretical to say this, but I believe that one of the stronger aspects of Mamet’s art is his ability to cut through the BS and simplify.

True and False by David Mamet

Which resonates with me deeply. Shakespeare, Sophocles, Moliere, Lope de Vega, etc. Many of the observations about doing are really about priming the actor to enter that ring – so that when she is on that live-wire, vulnerable, in a space shared with an audience, there’s nothing to hide – only the opportunity to share the truth, the plot as written by the playwright.


A delicious rant against method acting and theater schools, but that’s about it.