The Philosophical Actor

Winner of the Choice Online Academic Title of the Year, 2011


(A Practical Meditation For Practicing Actors)


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, this book draws from twenty-five years of experience as an acting teacher and director to introduce innovative ways of thinking about acting.


“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 behavioral 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.”