Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Science Of Acting: A Book Review

Sam Kogan studied at the Moscow Institute of Theatre Arts under the direction of Professor Maria Knebel, who was a pupil of Stanislavski.  He established The Science of Acting, a complete stand-alone technique for drama and theatre studies.  When Mr. Kogan died in 2004, he left notes for a book detailing his life’s work. The project has recently been completed by his daughter Helen Kogan. The Science Of Acting, by Sam Kogan was published by Routledge in 2009.

I need to admit that I am not an actor or a student of theatre arts.  I did encourage and support my daughter when she participated in high school and junior college plays and musicals.  I started reading this book with the perception that I would learn acting techniques but I soon discovered that this book is also about how we think and act in everyday life.  

This book examines how our mind works and how we can use helpful thoughts to our advantage and eliminate thoughts that are holding us back.  It explains how we get in a ditch of rigid negative thinking.  This thinking occurs on the subconscious level so we don't understand why we are reacting the way we do.

Mr. Kogan uses theories on the relationship between neuroscience, psychology and acting to develop a technique for good acting and successful living.  The book is amazingly direct and easy to understand.  It is illustrated with simple drawings that help explain key concepts.  I also like the way key words are emphasized and defined.  There is an excellent glossary at the end of the book that provides a useful summary of all the key concepts in the book.

I highly recommend this book to all students and teachers of drama and theatre arts.  I also recommend this book to anyone who desires a better understanding of the thought process.  This is a life-changing piece of work!

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