Divided into four sections, 'Status', 'Spontaneity', 'Narrative Skills', and 'Masks and Trance', arranged more or less in the order a group might approach them, the book sets out the specific techniques and exercises which Johnstone has himself found most useful and most stimulating. The result is both an ideas book and a fascinating exploration of the nature of spontaneous creativity.
Noises Off won both the Evening Standard and the Olivier Awards for Best Comedy when it was first produced, and ran in the West End for nearly five years. Michael Frayn's most recent play, Copenhagen, won both the Evening Standard Best Play Award in London and the Tony Best Play Award in New York.
An Actor Prepares explores the inner preparation an actor must undergo in order to explore a role to the full. In this volume, Sir John Gielgud said, this great director “found time to explain a thousand things that have always troubled actors and fascinated students.”
Building a Character discusses the external techniques of acting: the use of the body, movement, diction, singing, expression, and control.
Creating a Role describes the preparation that precedes actual performance, with extensive discussions of Gogol’s The Inspector General and Shakespeare’s Othello. Sir Paul Scofield called Creating a Role “immeasurably important” for the actor.
These three volumes belong on any actor’s short shelf of essential books.