Acting One/Acting Two

McGraw-Hill, 2008

This is the fifth edition of Cohen’s Acting One (which is also available separately) combined with the second, fully revised edition of his Advanced Acting. In combination, says one outside peer reviewer, “Mr. Cohen is approaching as definitive an acting course textbook there is ever likely to be. I find the material accessible, relevant and eminently teachable.” (Murray McGibbon, Assoc Prof Theatre and Drama Indiana University)

Cohen’s lifetime goal has been to integrate the study and practice of acting in realistic dramas with performing in the great range of drama – from tragedy to farce, prose drama to verse and music theatre, and the classical past to the contemporary avant-garde.

To this end, Cohen has united the fifth edition of his Acting One, long the leading acting text in the United States (now also translated into Korean and Hungarian), which explores the basic task of interacting, essentially as oneself, as if in approximately real-life environments, in concert with Acting Two: which concerns acting, often as a character wildly different from oneself, in styles including Greek tragedy, Shakespearean verse, Restoration comedy, Oscar Wilde’s witty banter, and the “hypertheatre” of Eugene Ionesco, Bertolt Brecht, and contemporary dramatists. And – which is most important – Cohen shows the links which make such acting emanating directly from the core of realistic acting principles introduced in Acting One.

This double-volume, therefore, creates an integrated and immediately accessible approach to acting that ties together styles and methods of acting long thought to be virtually irreconcilable…

Review Excerpts from Acting Two

“This book has much to offer performers, directors, and teachers of performance. It is clear, comprehensive, thoughtful and practical. Although it builds on idea from his previous works, [it] is also extremely useful for those without experience with those texts. For those teachers looking for a method to introduce, discuss, and integrate issues of style into the acting process organically, this work is an extremely helpful guide.” Frank Trezza, –Theatre Topics

“The way we change ourselves in order to get what we need goes to the heart of Cohen’s teachings on style. “Style,” Cohen writes, “describes real, not fake, behavior: that which is purposeful and not just showy.” In the preface Cohen states, “the goal of the book is easily described: to show you how to extend yourself into a different century, a different way of speaking, a different profession, a different age or gender or philosophy or religious belief, and still be yourself”—in other words, to teach you acting styles as an “extension of yourself” and your character needs, not as an arbitrary way of being. Used as a basic textbook, Advanced Acting will put the young actor on the right path to that goal.” —J.A. Eliason, Backstage/Backstage West.

“Mr. Cohen is approaching as definitive an acting course textbook there is ever likely to be. I find the material accessible, relevant and eminently teachable. …As a whole, the combination text could easily provide the framework for a comprehensive four-year acting training program…” —Murray McGibbon, Assoc Prof Theatre and Drama Indiana University

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