The Charismatic Chameleon: The Actor as Creative Artist
"A definitive survey of acting-techniques that lucidly describes the processes by which theatre is created. Invaluable insights that no one entering the acting profession should be without." Charles Marowitz, a leading critic, playwright, director and author whose recent books include The Other Chekhov and Roar of the Canon.
A working actor needs chameleon-like skills to transform into fictional characters shaped by the conventions of any of a wide variety of genres. Equally important is charisma, that unique personal energy that transforms a skilled mimic into a star. What is the secret of the charismatic chameleon? Beginning with the premise that actors are creative artists, and tracing individual creativity to six distinct temperaments (personality types), Leslie O'Dell demonstrates how actors can tap the profound resources of the psyche in even the most stress-filled situations. After introducing the nuances of the theory behind the practice, readers encounter a "Virtual Workshop" A dialogue among acting students, each representing one of the six Creative Personality types, as they diagnose their individual temperaments and then explore how the charismatic chameleon insight might assist each of them in mastering their craft and confronting barriers to personal excellence in preparing themselves for a successful acting career. The volume concludes with an annotated bibliography that positions the concepts of charisma, creative temperament, and the dangers and challenges of acting training within the context of writings by leading scholars and theatre practitioners.
At the heart of the book is one simple truth: that an effortless flow of charismatic energy is available at any time and that the process for tapping into that source of authenticity and creativity is straightforward, flexible, and easily blended with other acting strategies and styles. The Charismatic Chameleon is essential reading for working actors, for students of acting, and for teachers and directors who seek a more finely-nuanced understanding of the source of acting excellence and how best to optimize creativity through collaborative and individual praxis.
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