“The Great Guskin” (John Lahr, The New Yorker) shares the approach he uses to help actors land roles, develop them, and keep them alive
Harold Guskin is an “acting doctor” whose clients include Kevin Kline, Glenn Close, James Gandolfini, Bridget Fonda, and dozens more. In How to Stop Acting, Guskin reveals the insights and techniques that have worked wonders for beginners as well as stars. Instead of yet another “method,” Guskin offers a strategy based on a radically simple and refreshing idea: that the actor’s work is not to “create a character” but rather to be continually, personally responsive to the text, wherever his impulse takes him, from first read-through to final performance. From this credo derives an entirely new perspective on auditioning and the challenge of developing a role and keeping it fresh, even over hundreds of performances. Drawing on examples from his clients’ work and his own, Guskin presents acting as a constantly evolving exploration rather than as a progression toward a fixed goal. He also offers sound and original advice on adapting to the particular demands of television and film, playing difficult emotional scenes, tackling the Shakespearean and other great roles, and more. His book will find an eager and appreciative audience among novices and established actors alike.
No, this isn't a guide to helping introverts learn how to loosen up and be themselves. Rather, it's a new perspective on auditioning for theater. "Acting doctor" Guskin, who's worked with Kline, Glenn Close, James Gandolfini, Steve Martin and others, explains his strategy, which, at its core, states that actors do not have a responsibility to create characters, but to be continually responsive to their lines, wherever their inclinations take them. It's an honest, non-gimmicky take on a perennial problem. With specific anecdotes (e.g., "Peter Fonda came to me in 1993, he wanted to rethink his acting") and concrete advice (e.g. "take it slow" and "let the script guide the research"), Guskin covers various acting scenarios, from the stage (including Shakespeare) to film and television. He imparts much wisdom, yet counsels, "discover what makes you tick as an actor. Use what works and discard whatever gets in the way, no matter how sound the concept." Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.