By Edna Snidebottom
‘The Actor Uncovered, a life in acting’ is a book you will want to share with anyone who wants to understand what acting is all about. As someone who has taught acting, I have read a number of books on the subject to learn anything that could help me be a better teacher. One of those books was by Stella Adler, a person that Michael Howard also has a lot of admiration for. Truth in acting is paramount to him and is something I’ve always strived to encourage in my students.
This is not a book about choosing one technique over another, but more about the process and craft. What sets this book apart from the others are the wonderful examples and stories of fellow actors struggling to make a career in acting. He is generous with his own story, showing the triumphs and defeats that are all part of this calling.
On opening night of many shows, I would turn to a fellow actor and say, “What makes us put ourselves through this?” Howard explains to the audience what drives us to perform: “Listen, even if you came to the theater only to be entertained or to shed a sentimental tear, we want you to understand something. We want you to see yourself clearly. We want you, in spite of yourself, to be able to laugh at how foolish you are. To understand why it was so important for you to win, why you felt so rotten when you lost. We want you to recognize yourself in us. We want you to understand life, with all its hallelujahs and its hurts, as we hold the mirror up for you.”
He also shares why we develop such strong relationships with the fellow members in our cast: “In rehearsal, bonds of trust develop that in other life situations take months, even years to create. Now it must happen in days, weeks. As weeks go by, tempers are lost, animosities develop, tears are shed, private jokes that outsiders would never understand keep the company laughing, friendships are fixed in life-long cement. In the end, a family is created, and must now face the ultimate test of an audience.”
These are just a few of the gems you will uncover. I easily finished this well-written book in two days. It’s easy to understand why Mr. Howard’s students are so dedicated to him.
‘The Actor Uncovered’ is available at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com.