Congratulations! You got the part! Now what? Many actors of all levels find it challenging to apply classroom and studio techniques to the rehearsal process. Rehearsing for a class is vastly different than a professional situation, and a consistent, practical, and constructive method is needed to truly bring to life vibrant and intricate characters.
Building a Performance: An Actor's Guide to Rehearsal provides tools and techniques through different stages of the rehearsal process to enable actors to make more dynamic choices, craft complex characters, and find an engaging and powerful level of performance. John Basil and Dennis Schebetta bring decades of acting and teaching experience to help actors apply the skills they learned in the classroom directly to the professional rehearsal room or film/television set. They show how to glean distinct choices from early readings of the script, how to add dynamics to their physical and vocal decisions, how to explore interactions with other actors in rehearsal, and how to address specific challenges unique to each role.
While students will benefit from the practical applications and advice, intermediate and advanced actors will find exciting and new ways to engage with the material and with other actors at rehearsal. Actors of all levels will gain tips and techniques so that they can continue to discover more about their character. With these tools, actors will be inspired to dig into the text and build a dynamic performance.
John Basil was a founding member and the producing artistic director of American Globe Theatre for 25 years, the longest running off-off Broadway theatre in midtown Manhattan. He has directed over 50 productions for the theatre and has also directed five seasons of opera at Sarasota Opera. Basil is the author of the popular and practical book WILL POWER: How to Act Shakespeare in 21 Days. Additionally, his Playing Shakespeare series continues to enlighten and inspire actors across the nation. Basil is an associate professor of theatre arts at Marymount Manhattan College. He has also worked in television as a director for NBC’s Another World. Basil was recognized by The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and was awarded the Iben Lectureship for Shakespeare. His website is www.johnbasil.com.
Dennis Schebetta is an actor, director, and writer in film and theater. He teaches at Skidmore College and continues to work professionally as an actor and director, most recently with the Saratoga Shakespeare Company and Northeast Theatre Ensemble. His professional acting credits include Ensemble Studio Theater, Vital Theater, Pulse Ensemble Theater, Genesius Guild Theater, Northeast Theatre Ensemble, Pittsburgh Playhouse, The Hiawatha Project and Off the Wall Theater. As a theatre director, he has directed productions off-off Broadway at Ensemble Studio Theatre, 29th Street Rep, and Brass Tacks Theatre. As a film director and award-winning writer, his short film My Date with Adam has been an official selection of several international film festivals. His numerous plays have been produced and performed across the country, as well as internationally. His website is www.dennisschebetta.com.
Part I: Laying the Foundation – Steps Before First Rehearsal
Chapter 1: Reading the Blueprint
Chapter 2: Building the Scaffolding
Chapter 3: Constructing a Shell
Chapter 4: Brick by Brick: Three Types of Languages
Part II: Building the Role – Steps for Early Rehearsal
Chapter 5: Building with Others
Chapter 6: Building Habits
Chapter 7: Building Your Character
Part III: Making It Your Own – Steps for Final Rehearsal
Chapter 8: Building Dynamics with Textual Clues
Chapter 9: Interior Fittings: Building Emotional and Verbal Dynamics
Chapter 10: Building with Care and Consent: Fights, Extreme Physicality & Intimacy
Chapter 11: Exterior Fittings and Final Touches – The Technical Rehearsal
Part IV: Other Models of Construction
Chapter 12: When There’s No Blueprint: Devising, Physical Theater & Ensemble Plays
Chapter 13: New Construction: Rehearsing the New Play
Chapter 14: The Fast Build: Rehearsing Film, TV and other Media
Chapter 15: Moving In: Common Notes from Directors
Conclusion: Moving On
Appendix 1: Recommended Play Reading List
Appendix 2: Recommended Reading & Resources
About the Authors
Using well-known acting techniques and analytical skills intended for college stage actors and professional acting trainees, this practical handbook provides a solid foundation to build a performance during rehearsals. From Stanislavski and Uta Hagen to Sanford Meisner and others, the novice or experienced actor can choose what to explore and incorporate in developing a character and establishing character actions within the world of the play…. Chapter references, a bibliography, an index, and a convenient list of plays used as examples are educational and helpful. Traditional in its approach and application, this resource hits the mark. Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals.
Building a Performance: An Actor’s Guide to Rehearsal, offers actors a practical blueprint of how to craft a performance through a rehearsal period. There are so many talented actors who simply do not know how to ‘rehearse,’ how to build the performance through the rehearsal period. This book will answer those questions and offer the actor a practical, how-to guide for building and sculpting a multi-layered performance. It’s a must!
Regardless of your training or technique, this book provides clear, practical methods of approaching the rehearsal process to maximize your effectiveness as a full partner in the creative work. A genuine roadmap leading to an organic, vivid, and unique performance. I want to create a new course so I can teach this to my students!
AT LAST!!! In the sea of books about the craft of acting, Building a Performance is a life raft about the overlooked creative process of rehearsal. The author's practical words provide a comprehensive guide that should be on every performer's bookshelf and included in the curriculum of all acting classes.
Preparation is key in film and TV and Building a Performance teaches actors how to bring an interesting and fully formed character to the set. With little opportunity for rehearsal, the actor must show up ready for “Opening Night” whenever they work on camera.
Building a Performance gives fresh insights on the practical rehearsal techniques that translate the work into spontaneous, vulnerable, lively performances.
Finally! A complete and comprehensive guide to one of the most elusive areas for the actor. This book on how to rehearse and build a performance is clearly communicated and extremely useful. Moreover, Basil and Schebetta have created a blueprint for exercising technique that meets each actor in the middle of their process, wherever that may be. To know John and Dennis is to experience their considerable wisdom and generosity as acting teachers, creative artists, and fellow humans. To read this this book is to have those gifts carefully curated and organized for every situation the contemporary actor may encounter. This is a book that will stay on the actor’s nightstand and become an invaluable reference beyond the first read.