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(From the foreword by Todd London)
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By James Seymour on 07-16-15
Talk or Die
Would you consider the audio edition of The Existential Actor to be better than the print version?
Talk or die. Good advice for any actor or, as Jeff Zinn confirms, any human being. By consolidating vast amounts of philosophical perspectives, The Existential Actor manages to condense an array of practical and near-mystical observations by a myriad of actor-trainers (mostly sharing the ethos of Stanislavsky) into a sharply defined defense of the hunger for self-identity.
What did you like best about this story?
Were his discussions not shaped by years of working towards an understanding of the psychological pitfalls of a life of creating characters onstage, his thesis might be tedious, simply adding to the weight of critical and artistic theory that floods university theatre programs. Such is not the case. Zinn is actually able to distill these disparate elements into four steps: shape, action, transaction, and surrender.
What about Jeff Zinn’s performance did you like?
And when he solicits the inspired notions of Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekhov, Miller, and Mamet in service of his thesis, one begins to sense the value of such an existential – or inward-looking – approach to the craft. We are all fighting not just to stay alive, but also to satisfy an equally powerful hunger for meaning, a belief that our short sojourns on this planet will count for something.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
The actor is the guide to such an adventure, and that fact is the central thrust of Jeff Zinn’s discourse, which, by the way, is well-worth a few hours of listening, especially as its narrated with the same clarity and distinctive pronunciation of his father, whose college lectures I shall always cherish.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By KatieHargreavesArt on 10-27-17
A must read for all serious actors.
Intelligent amalgamation of all valuable acting techniques into one guide. Links all human psychology to truthful acting seemlessly. Aligns well with finding the size and beauty of characters (Adler springs to mind) as well as the fundamental tools of performance such as actioning and listening (transaction). Particularly interesting idea of surrender and heroic narrative, illustrating the life and death needs, desires and dreams of all humans and the honest naked self which is revealed when our lives fall apart. Zinn then goes on to give examples of his theories within plays and characters that we know so well- from Hamlet to Uncle Vanya and suggests why these roles are so loved by audiences and how we too, can apply the philosophy as actors. A thought provoking and extremely useful toolkit.