Review Detail

Young Adult Nonfiction 421
The Young Actor's Handbook
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
THE YOUNG ACTOR’S HANDBOOK by Jeremy Kruse is essentially a 101 course on acting. With a bare bones approach, Kruse addresses the most important skills performers must learn, such as how to break down a scene, how to build the inner life of a character, and how to balance the technical components of acting. He explains the creative differences between acting for stage and acting for theater, and goes even further by delving into the acting business, which includes auditioning, working with an agent or manager, and joining the union. He wraps the book up with prompts and encouragement to write your own material or produce it.

What I genuinely love about this book is that Kruse gives legitimate acting exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home. From the Open-Ended Scene Exercise to the Short Monologues Chapter, Kruse provides a real opportunity for actors to practice. While nothing beats an in-person workshop or on-the-job experience, it’s imperative to have ways to hone the craft in-between these events. You can’t sit down with acting like you can a piano, which can make it difficult to progress. Even worse, most books on acting focus solely on theory, which doesn’t always translate into practice. The fact that Kruse’s first chapter is designed to get people on their feet and doing the work, instead of just reading it, speaks volumes to his understanding of this art form.

As an actor myself, I can testify that this book is not only for beginners. While it is catered towards a younger audience who may just be starting out, there are many great pearls of wisdom in there. Moreover, I’ve learned throughout the years that while I may have been told the same information before, sometimes it’s how the teacher says it that makes it finally resonate. Kruse has a wonderful way of getting straight to the point and explaining his methods in a logical way.

In just under one hundred pages, Kruse offers a comprehensive look at what it means and takes to be a working actor. Overall, THE YOUNG ACTOR’S HANDBOOK is great for anyone who is curious about making acting a profession, as well as those who may need a refresher course.
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