"Uta Hagen wanted us never to settle, period, to keep on endlessly exploring, digging deeper, and aiming higher in our scenes, in our plays, in our careers. Respect for Acting is not a long book, and with any luck, it will take you the rest of your life to read it."
—David Hyde Pierce (from the Foreword)
Legendary actress and teacher Uta Hagen knew that an actor's finest work was often achieved for love rather than for money. She lived this philosophy alongside her husband, Herbert Berghof, at HB Studio, their acting school in New York. It was there that they created a workplace and spiritual home for actors such as Robert DeNiro, Jack Lemmon, Anne Bancroft, and Bette Midler.
Respect for Acting is Hagen's blueprint for the actor, her design for "enlightened stage acting." This classic book has helped generations of actors hone their craft, and its advice is as useful now as it was when it was first published. Hagen draws on her own struggle with the techniques of acting as well as her decades of teaching experience to break down the areas in which actors can work and search for realities in themselves that serve the character and the play. This approach helps actors to be specific in their actions in order to communicate an artistic statement. Hagen's instructions and examples also guide the aspiring actor through practical problems such as "How do I talk to the audience?" and "How do I stay fresh in a long run?"
Part One, "The Actor," deals with the actor's concept of him or herself, as well as techniques that set an actor in motion physically, verbally, and emotionally.
Part Two, "The Object Exercises," offers specific and detailed work for the actor, covering a broad range of problems and circumstances, from making an entrance to using the Fourth Wall.
Part Three, "The Play and the Role," covers how to approach the play and identify with the character the actor will undertake. It also shares practical thoughts and answers the questions young actors ask most.
Uta Hagen's influence endures in many of today's most compelling stage and screen performances. Informative and inspiring, Respect for Acting will bring her timeless techniques to actors and audiences for years to come.