The Actor’s Art & Craft: William Esper Teaches the Meisner Technique
“. . . It’s the best book on the craft of acting that I have ever read.”
– Mary Steenburgen, Academy Award Winner
“A veritable magnum opus on acting from a master teacher.”
– Olympia Dukakis, Academy Award Winner
“I’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.”
– David Mamet, Pulitzer Prize Winner (from the foreword to The Actor’s Art & Craft)
William Esper, one of the leading acting teachers of our time, explains and extends Sanford Meisner’s legendary technique, offering a clear, concrete, step-by-step approach to becoming a truly creative actor. Esper worked closely with Meisner for seventeen years and has spent decades developing his famous program for actor’s training. The result is a rigorous system of exercises that builds a solid foundation of acting skills from the ground up, and that is flexible enough to be applied to any challenge an actor faces, from soap operas to Shakespeare.
Co-writer Damon DiMarco, a former student of Esper’s, spent over a year observing his mentor teaching first-year acting students. In this book he recreates that experience for us, allowing us to see how the progression of exercises works in practice.
The Actor’s Art and Craft vividly demonstrates that good training does not constrain actors’ instincts, it frees them to create characters with truthful and compelling inner lives.