The basic skills that every actor needs to develop are covered in this guide, including breathing, voice control, the use of body language, timing, and handling the audience. The importance of understanding a text and the interaction of the characters within it is considered, as is the relationship between the actor/actress and director. Auxiliary activities such as actors' exercises and warm-ups are evaluated and general advice is provided. Specific skills are discussed, such as learning lines, mime, mastering dialects and accents, period manners, and how to ensure that makeup is suitable to the role. Summaries are provided of the ideas of famous theorists, directors, and actors, such as Stanislawski, Lee Strasberg, Michael Chekhov and Dorothy Heathcote, Peter Brook and Peter Hall, as well as John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier, Simon Callow, Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Alec Guinness, Michael Caine, and Dirk Bogarde. Other topics considered are the differences between stage and screen acting; the problems of acting in the open air; and the particular demands of certain playwrights, such as Shakespeare and Brecht.
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