The first book
Damon wrote The Actor’s Art and Craft: William Esper Teaches the Meisner Technique with his mentor and long-time friend, Bill Esper. The book quickly gained prominence as a work to rival Sanford Meisner’s On Acting, Uta Hagen’s Respect for Acting, or Stella Adler’sÂ The Art of Acting.
Backstage Magazine called Art and Craft: “a fantastic, long overdue exploration of actor training . . . there is so much pure sincerity and wisdom in Esper’s approach.”
Show Business Weekly called it:Â “A must-read for aspiring and established actors of all stripes.”
David Mamet, who wrote the book’s foreword said: “. . . Iâ€™ve spent my life working with actors. To do so one needs but a few, essential tools, the mastery of which is the challenging work of a lifetime: be patient, be precise, be terse, encourage, suggest, praise, listen. I was first exposed to these tools through the example of Bill Esper, and I am very grateful.”
The Actor’s Art and Craft features additional endorsement by incredible actors like Academy Award Winners Olympia Dukakis and Mary Steenburgen, SAG Award Winner Calista Flockhart, Emmy Award Winner Patricia Heaton, and many more.
The book has been adopted by colleges, universities, and private studios around the world as a go-to resource on Meisner-based acting technique.
A second book
Bill and Damon are now under contract with Random House to produce a followup book, tentatively titled The Challenge of Playing a Character.
The Actor’s Art and Craft followed Damon’s audit of a class going through first year training at Esper Studio. The Challenge of Playing a Character will follow the same class as they advance through their second and final year of training. Second year work builds on principles learned in the first year and introduces powerful, specific techniques for marrying a character’s essence to that of the actor playing it. The book focuses on how these techniques are essential to playing the greatest roles in both the modern and classical canon, from Edward Albee, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, and August Wilson to Shakespeare, Strindberg, Sophocles, Moliere, and many more. The material addresses necessary adaptations the actor must make to perform in the diverse mediums of stage, screen, and television.
Random House will release The Challenge of Playing a Character at an undisclosed date in late 2013 or early 2014.
A note about Bill Esper:
Considered an American treasure of the arts, Bill studied directly with Sanford Meisner at the legendary neighborhood Neighborhood Playhouse. Sandy later hired Bill as a teacher and the two men worked side by side for 17 years. Bill has spent his entire life exploring and furthering Sandy’s groundbreaking techniques at both The William Esper Studio in New York and The Professional Actors Training Program which Bill founded at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts.
Bill has trained some of the most noted actors who currently grace stage, screen, and TV: Sam Rockwell, David Morse, Kathy Bates, Kristin Davis, Larry David, Peter Gallagher, Aaron Eckhart, Jeff Goldblum, Christine Lahti, Gretchen Mol, Dule Hill, Teri Polo, Dean Winters, and many more.
Visit the website for The William Esper Studio or watch a video here.Â And order your copy of The Actor’s Art and Craft: William Esper Teaches the Meisner Technique today!