Theater as Life: Practical Wisdom Drawn from Great Acting Teachers, Actors & Actresses, by Paul Marcus ; with Gabriela Marcus. ISBN-13: 978-0-87462-069-6. ISBN-10: 0-87462-069-4. Cloth. 263 pp. $25. Bibliography. Index.
Rather than focus on the well-known truism that great plays and dramatic performances can deeply transform and ennoble us, the Marcus’s draw from a much less known dimension of theatre, namely, acting technique theory, how actors and actresses learn dramatic performance as an art, profession and way of life. They claim the emotional, intellectual and physical insights the actor must internalize and ultimately translate into action to become a great actor are “technique[s] of the self” that can be enormously helpful to the average person struggling with the problem of living a better life, the “good life,” as they call it. Drawing from the psychological insights of Constantin Stanislavski and other such “master” teachers like Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner, as well as performers like Lawrence Olivier, Marlon Brando and Meryl Streep, Theater as Life is the first book that makes the actor’s magical ”soul craft,” her way of transforming herself into a “character” accessible and applicable to real-life, to living the “good life.”
“A much needed book for our time. Antidotes for dehumanization are drawn from theater, particularly acting and training techniques for actors. The authors make a compelling case for the application of what it takes to be a ‘real’ actor to what it takes to be a ‘real’ person. Quotes from actors and directors are thrilling and moving and the authors own reflections are consciousness raising. An enriching, nourishing, humanizing book.” Michael Eigen, Ph.D., Psychoanalyst, author, Flames from the Unconscious: Trauma, Madness and Faith.
Paul Marcus, Ph.D., psychoanalyst, is the author/editor of twelve books, most recently In Search of the Good Life. Emmanuel Levinas, Psychoanalysis and the Art of Living. Dr. Marcus completed the five levels of improv training at The Peoples Improv Theater.
Gabriela Marcus, a graduate of the New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, trained at the Atlantic Theater Acting School and Stonestreet Studios, is a working actress.