A Year in Books/Day 191: Laurence Olivier On Acting

  • Title: Laurence Olivier On Acting From Hamlet and Heathcliff to “Brideshead” and Marathon Man, Our Greatest Actor Candidly Discusses His Triumphant Career in an Extraordinary Examination of His Profession and Craft
  • Author: Laurence Olivier
  • Year Published: 1986 (A TOUCHSTONE BOOK)
  • Year Purchased: 1992
  • Source: A bookstore at an outlet mall.
  • About: Every actor, young or old, has something  many things to learn from Olivier. If they say otherwise, they’re just in denial. Or ignorant. Perhaps I should strike a line through that as well and replace it with the (softer?) word naive. Nah. I’ll stand by my original assessment. Let’s move on to the good stuff. Even if you don’t care about the craft of acting (and have never been silly enough to work in or, sanity forbid, train for the theatre), On Acting is really entertaining. Part autobiography, part theatre/film history, and part textbook, it is a mixture that  works. He exposes the thought processes behind his roles, but dishes enough behind-the-scenes stories to keep most people interested. It is superior to his traditional memoir, Confessions of an Actor.
  • Motivation: I was an acting student then; the cover blurb was an excellent sales person.
  • Times Read: 2 or 3
  • Random Excerpt/Page 65: “New actors, new waves, new ideas-it’s all been done before. What we forget is that every new generation is the modern man. We are only watching things repeated with different costumes, new settings, original surrounds. However we look at it, it is still the same jewel, shining from the crown, that was mined between 1564 and 1616.”
  • Happiness Scale: 10+++
    Laurence Olivier, June 17, 1939

    Laurence Olivier, June 17, 1939 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


A Year in Books/Day 21: Stanislavski A Biography

  • Title: Stanislavski A Biography
  • Author: Jean Benedetti
  • Year Published: 1988/This Edition 1990 (A Routledge Book)
  • Year Purchased: 1992/1993
  • Source: The Book Harbor, Columbus
  • About: An exhaustive account of the theatrical genius’ influential life.
  • Motivation: I was a theatre student and, as an extension of my great love for the nation’s literature, infatuated with all things Russian.
  • Times Read: 3
  • Random Excerpt/Page 106: “The enthusiasm, the passions which the production aroused were unprecedented. Stanislavski experienced in full measure that electric flow of energy which passes from stage to auditorium and back not only when the
    English: Russian Constantin Stanislavski Русск...

    Image via Wikipedia

    performance is exciting but when ideas, feelings and convictions are shared.”

  • Happiness Scale: 10