A Practical Handbook for the Actor by Melissa Bruder, Lee Michael Cohn, Madeleine Olnek, Nathaniel

By Melissa Bruder, Lee Michael Cohn, Madeleine Olnek, Nathaniel Pollack, Robert Previtio, Scott Zigler, David Mamet

6 operating actors describe their equipment and philosophies of the theater. All have labored with playwright David Mamet on the Goodman Theater in Chicago.

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Sweetheart! ”) Stanley: Stell-lahhhh! EUNICE: (calling down from the door of her upper apartment): Quit that howling out there an’ go back to bed! STANLEY: I want my baby down here. Stella, Stella! EUNICE: She ain’t comin’ down, so you quit! Or you’ll git th’ law on you! STANLEY: Stella! EUNICE: You can’t beat on a woman an’ then call ’er back! She won’t come! … You stinker! You whelp of a Polack, you! I hope they do haul you in and turn the firehouse on you, same as last time! STANLEY (humbly): Eunice, I want my girl to come down with me!

Pleading for help can be accomplished while sitting absolutely still in a chair. An action must be something that you, the actor, can actually accomplish onstage. 2. An action must be fun to do. As you will discover in scene analysis (see chapter 2), any number of actions can be correct for a particular scene. Common sense dictates that you figure out the one you as an actor will want to do, since you are the one who will have to do it every night of the week. By fun we don’t necessarily mean something that makes you laugh, but something that is truly compelling to you.

This is a good as-if for several reasons. First, it is something that could happen. Thus I can accept it unquestioningly and act upon it immediately. Second, it is simple and direct, and does not complicate the action. Third, it is in line with the intentions of the playwright because the stakes are high: if I don’t get my mother’s forgiveness something terrible will happen—I will be banned from my home. In the scene, if Stanley doesn’t convince Stella to come home to him, he too will incur a terrible loss.

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