The Philosophical Actor (Book)

A Practical Meditation for Practicing Theatre Artists

There have been many books published on acting, actor training and practical theories for preparing for a role, but none of these books have ever looked philosophically at the language and the concepts that we use when we talk about acting. The Philosophical Actor is the first attempt to grapple with the fundamental questions of truth, art and human nature unexamined in past treatments, from the first great essay by Diderot to the exhaustive system described by Stanislavski. With wide appeal to actors, directors, acting students, acting teachers and trainers, Donna Soto-Morettini draws from 25 years of experience as an acting teacher and director to introduce innovative ways of thinking about acting.


Donna Soto-Morettini is head of musical theatre at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and a writer, freelance director and performance coach. She is also the author of Popular Singing.


Part One: Am I ACTING?

Part Two: What Was I Thinking?

Part Three: How Am I Feeling?

Part Four: What were YOU thinking?

Part Five: Where Am I?

'Rare indeed is a study of acting with the clarity, concision, and conceptualization of this title. Written specifically for experienced actors or would-be actors, this straightforward book clarifies concepts that concern actors and acting teachers– for example, truth, emotion, and dualism. Philosophy (especially the work of Mark Johnson and George Lakoff), psychology (both behavioural and introspective), cognitive science, and Eastern performance practice are all related to acting theory, especially to the work of Constantin Stanislavski, Uta Hagen, and Sanford Meisner. Soto-Morettini, a renowned drama director and performance coach, looks at all these concepts and theorists, and many others as well. Applying theories and concepts of philosophy and psychology to the theories and concepts of the art of acting cannot, of course, result in anything more than better-informed theories and concepts that one can apply to the practice of acting. And that--nothing more, nothing less – is Soto-Morettini's task. She succeeds brilliantly. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals.'

J. J. Kelly, Elmira College
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