My Character Wouldn’t Do That

My Character Wouldn’t Do That: Acting, Cognitive Science and the Optimal Performance Brain

“You will leave this book inspired and wanting to try out these new approaches. You will never look at a script again and think, ‘where do I start?’ Students of acting – this is the book I wish I had read!” — Amazon review

My Character Wouldn't Do That

‘My Character Wouldn’t Do That’,
from Methuen Drama, is available now:
Purchase from Amazon


(Acting, Cognitive Science and the Optimal Performance Brain)

Starting from the idea that the main hindrance to a great acting performance is self-consciousness on the part of the performer, My Character Wouldn’t do That examines the ways in which some of our traditional and contemporary approaches to acting put us into a ‘mind space’ that can encourage self-consciousness. Examining evidence from a range of contemporary cognitive sciences, the book approaches acting and actor training in an entirely different way.

Based on the latest research into brain activity and human behaviour, the book covers areas that standard acting texts do (character, emotion, memory, imagination, making active choices) but reconceives each of these elements through the lens of that contemporary research.

The book is the first to look closely at what contemporary research tells us about:

  • personality/character and how environment shapes us
  • how memory works and how actors can work with (rather than against) their memory in preparing for performance
  • why actors must use different kinds of brain states and imagination in the various stages of preparation, rehearsal, and performance
  • how actors can frame active choices in a way that refocuses the source of thought and action
  • why actors should distinguish the stages of preparation and the kinds of thinking / imagination that works at each stage

Mastering the Shakespeare Audition not only shows performers how to focus rehearsal time and spend it well, it works on the premise that the right preparation will always give you a massive confidence boost in performance.  Preparing Shakespeare’s texts can be a bit like a literary puzzle, but when you have the right tools, you can create truly compelling work!

The book includes further exercises and practice to help deepen your skills and knowledge once the immediate pressure of auditioning has passed or for those who aren’t in a time-critical situation and just want to extend their experience and practice.