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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Acting in Documentary Theatre

ISBN 9781137019714
Publication Date July 2013
Formats Paperback Ebook Hardcover 
Publisher Palgrave

Using new interview material with actors, directors and writers, this book explores the challenges of performance in documentary theatre. Through a series of high profile case studies, Cantrell uses acting theory to examine the actors' complex processes, and makes a significant contribution to our understanding of stage performance.

Tom Cantrell is Lecturer in drama at the University of York, UK. He recently co-edited Playing for Real: Actors on Playing Real People with Mary Luckhurst. He continues to publish on acting processes and documentary forms, and is currently researching acting for the small screen.

List of Illustrations
1. Talking to Terrorists
2. My Name is Rachel Corrie
3. Called to Account
4. The Girlfriend Experience


"This engaging exploration of four unique British documentary theater is welcome. For each production, Cantrell provides insight into actors' practical preparation for their roles. Select elements of the theories of Stanislavski (incluidng his late "method of physical action") and Brecht are often cited as a basis for the creation of character, though in different manners and to differing degrees. Highly recommended." - Choice"Tom Cantrell's fascinating book breaks new ground in exploring the role of the actor in documentary theatre. What emerges is a richly detailed picture of the physical discipline and moral responsibility that the representation of living people requires. By frequently invoking Brecht and Stanislavski, the book also raises profound questions about the way acting is changing in response to new forms. I learned a lot." - Michael Billington "Refreshing and innovative, it is an exceptionally accessible text that rigorously engages with the mechanisms of making a piece of documentary theatre from a variety of perspectives." - Alison Forsyth, Aberystwyth University, UK"Acting in Documentary Theatre deals with a very interesting aspect of theatre, but what distinguishes it is the constant questioning of every phase of it, probing it, never taking anything for granted. Cantrell has allowed himself to be surprised by it, which is a wonderful quality in a theatre book. Bravo!" - Simon Callow "One of the many lasting values of Cantrell's book lies in providing - with extreme clarity and precision - the first attempt at theorizing the significance of the acting processes in documentary theatre." Cyrielle Garson, New Theatre Quarterly
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