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30 review for The Art Of Coarse Acting, Or, How To Wreck An Amateur Dramatic Society

  1. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    A dedication make, both brief and short To those with cardboard spears at Agincourt This is one of those books, like 1066 And All That that it is impossible to read for more than a paragraph without stopping to quote at everyone else in the room. You should know that I was an assistant stage manager at a student theatre for all of my undergraduate years; I have friends who are now professional technicians and actors, I've been an avid theatre-goer for as long as I can remember, and I swear to y A dedication make, both brief and short To those with cardboard spears at Agincourt This is one of those books, like 1066 And All That that it is impossible to read for more than a paragraph without stopping to quote at everyone else in the room. You should know that I was an assistant stage manager at a student theatre for all of my undergraduate years; I have friends who are now professional technicians and actors, I've been an avid theatre-goer for as long as I can remember, and I swear to you that Coarse Acting done right is my favourite of the lot. I love village hall theatre where the cast are enjoying themselves and the audience are in on the joke. I love stock characters, upstaging, when stage crew get caught in the lights. I love kind laughter, cheering for when things go well, and an atmosphere so relaxed it's flipped over. This book is that, in spades, telling stories and inviting reminiscences. Of course I've also seen terrible theatre: a particularly stand-out one for me was in a seaside town on holiday with my family, a murder mystery where we couldn't leave because our seats were in the middle of the third row, and the auditorium was nearly empty. (Spoiler: the murderer turned out to be the Cockney with the limp.) I live in Edinburgh, for goodness' sake: if you know where to look, the Festival Fringe is a bonanza of over-used cliches, megalomaniac writer-director-leads, forgotten lines and over-important misused Shakespeare quotes. But just every so often, those are brilliant, and not because you're laughing at the cast, but because they're laughing with you and the storytelling may be ropey as hell but for that hour, you the audience are allowed backstage as well, and you're among friends. Wonderful. My favourite. This book is like that, and you get to join in. I knew I couldn't be a rarity in liking it. If you've ever done am dram of any kind, you will certainly have told this kind of anecdote in the pub before. If you like theatre, you've probably heard someone else doing that same telling. It's short, sweet, gleeful. P.S. British theatricals may have heard of the theatre company in the dedication...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Zoe Hall

    I've heard this book spoken about quite a lot over the years, none more so than by my aunt who has a very early edition of this book. I have been part of a local amateur dramatics group for the best part of 12 years and thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Ludicrously funny, with just the slightest sprinkling of truth (okay, a major sprinkling of truth). Every chapter had at least one thing I have experienced over the years! I also read this book as part of my Penguin Read The Year Challenge. Th I've heard this book spoken about quite a lot over the years, none more so than by my aunt who has a very early edition of this book. I have been part of a local amateur dramatics group for the best part of 12 years and thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Ludicrously funny, with just the slightest sprinkling of truth (okay, a major sprinkling of truth). Every chapter had at least one thing I have experienced over the years! I also read this book as part of my Penguin Read The Year Challenge. This month's theme is about exploring your creativity - well, this book certainly represented my creativity! It is so refreshing to see that other people have the same experiences as us. For any thespian (amateur or professional) and anyone on or off stage, I would definitely recommend this book. As I was reading I was reminded of all the times I have been on stage when either I or a fellow cast member did one of the things mentioned in this book. I remember, haphazardley, the time I forgot to come on stage (only once I might add - I was so worried about a part in the final scene that I was running lines and got too engrossed); or the time my fellow cast member started a speech from the second act which would have ruined the ending and I had to try and interrupt him mid-speech to bring him back to the correct part of the plot; or the time I fell over in full view of the audience; or the time I bashed into the scenery as I exitted the stage; or the time I forgot the name of the character I was talking to and was trying frantically to remember it in case I had to say their name; or the time the door would not open and I was on the other side trying manically to make it look it was part of the plot ... I have in the past had a monologue which we had to cut down as it was far too long to remember, a few days before the opening night, and I had to have the new speech pinned to the side of the wing offstage (very handy as I had to pretend I was peering out of the window when really I was reading the speech), I've also been pretending to read a book on stage, when I actually start reading the book, got so engrossed in the story and forget to say my line. I could go on... It makes it all sound so disastrous but actually, it's the most fun and enjoyable (and stressful) thing to do. All the world's a stage (or so they say...) I've experienced this many, many times: '...you needn't worry. The audience didn't notice anything. You merely thought there was something wrong because you knew the play'.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cameron

    It's hilarious how spot-on this book is in representing my experience with amateur drama groups despite being written nearly sixty years ago. From its scathing takedown of Shakespearean jester characters to the role-by-role dissection of everything that can go wrong on the night, along with some surprisingly solid (if self-selving) advice on how to deal with them, those familiar with the world of theatre will find a lot to laugh at here. A few boomerisms and perhaps too many "if found please ret It's hilarious how spot-on this book is in representing my experience with amateur drama groups despite being written nearly sixty years ago. From its scathing takedown of Shakespearean jester characters to the role-by-role dissection of everything that can go wrong on the night, along with some surprisingly solid (if self-selving) advice on how to deal with them, those familiar with the world of theatre will find a lot to laugh at here. A few boomerisms and perhaps too many "if found please return to pub" type jokes creep in, but Green makes up with it with plenty of witty observations and cringeworthy anecdotes that feel entirely too real. A must-read for fans of the play that goes wrong, which may as well have been an adaptation

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

    This book was recommended to me by an amazingly talented community theater actress. Being that it is out of print and that my local library's copy had been stolen, I had to wait several weeks for it to arrive via inter-library loan. It was definitely worth the wait. Green manages to be ridiculous and hyperbolic (and very tongue in cheek), but also is full of some decent advice and commentary (especially in Chapter 3 "A Coarse Actor Prepares") on what to do when the inevitable problem arises. Cer This book was recommended to me by an amazingly talented community theater actress. Being that it is out of print and that my local library's copy had been stolen, I had to wait several weeks for it to arrive via inter-library loan. It was definitely worth the wait. Green manages to be ridiculous and hyperbolic (and very tongue in cheek), but also is full of some decent advice and commentary (especially in Chapter 3 "A Coarse Actor Prepares") on what to do when the inevitable problem arises. Certainly he is making fun of all of us in amateur theatre, but he is also providing some great tips underneath all the witty quips. Some of my favorite parts of the book involve Green's snide comments like: "it is the actor who is chiefly responsible for ruining the play", his instruction to ask oneself: "Could I measure down to that standard of acting?", "a good actor can make the audience believe a block of wood is a sword, a Coarse Actor can make them believe a sword is a block of wood.", and "a depressed cast is a good cast, especially in comedies". Mostly it is a collection of funny anecdotes and sarcastic commentary about those of us who enjoy the silliness that is inherent in theatrical "play".

  5. 5 out of 5

    Adriane

    One of the funniest books ever. I've gone through many copies because when I've lent it out it never returns :) One of the funniest books ever. I've gone through many copies because when I've lent it out it never returns :)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mark Woodland

    Falling-down hilarious book that "teaches" you how to be the lowest, cheesiest, and, unfortunately, typical amateur actor that ever stumbled into a piece of furniture on stage. Michael Green, who has written a number of "Coarse" books, has also written some companion plays to this book so that you can demonstrate the nadir of standards in theatre.... all for laughs, of course. There's not a serious bone in the book, except for the fact that, despairingly, you know and have worked with people jus Falling-down hilarious book that "teaches" you how to be the lowest, cheesiest, and, unfortunately, typical amateur actor that ever stumbled into a piece of furniture on stage. Michael Green, who has written a number of "Coarse" books, has also written some companion plays to this book so that you can demonstrate the nadir of standards in theatre.... all for laughs, of course. There's not a serious bone in the book, except for the fact that, despairingly, you know and have worked with people just like this. Some of the lessons: How there are basically only a few character types to choose from, and how to select one and stick to it no matter what the director says; how to do the very few makeup styles needed; how to nip off to the pub during long breaks off stage; the very worst in stage combat, all lovingly illustrated with pictures and examples of how this all is done. It was written about the amateur stage in Great Britain, but it applies nearly everywhere (except perhaps the Noh drama of Japan). It's also completely accessible to the non-theatre person, and an entertaining, fun read which will not fail to amuse you. The satiric material applies equally well to work in film and television, so everyone has a basis upon which to appreciate the humor of this book. You won't find it in the humor section, however, you'll need to look in the theatre/arts section. It's well worth reading when you're in the mood for something light and silly, and doesn't disappoint on re-reading. And, of course, it's a required resident on the shelves of any theatre practitioner. In fact, I think it's about time I re-read it myself, for at least the sixth time, and I can't say that about many books. Do give it a try.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    This hilarious guidebook is a must-read for anyone involved in amateur theater, whether onstage or off. You will recognize your fellow thespians. You will recognize yourself! The stock gyrations of the Coarse Actor have us all in their grip at one time or another. Some of us escape, and some of us...well...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Simon Brading

    One of the funniest books of the kind that I have read, a must read for any budding actor.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    If you like the Play that Goes wrong, this book was the inspiration for the original group! It's a hilarious story of everything that can go wrong in the theatre (and it does)... If you like the Play that Goes wrong, this book was the inspiration for the original group! It's a hilarious story of everything that can go wrong in the theatre (and it does)...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Philip Whiteland

    One of my favourites of the Michael Green series of The Art of Coarse... books. Although I've never trod the boards in anger myself, I would defy anyone not to find something funny in this. I'm particularly fond of the practical joke on the Holy Legate of the Pope. I've actually been working my way through my collection of Michael's books since I first bought them in the 1970s and have thoroughly enjoyed catching up with these again. It has, unfortunately, made me realise where quite a number of One of my favourites of the Michael Green series of The Art of Coarse... books. Although I've never trod the boards in anger myself, I would defy anyone not to find something funny in this. I'm particularly fond of the practical joke on the Holy Legate of the Pope. I've actually been working my way through my collection of Michael's books since I first bought them in the 1970s and have thoroughly enjoyed catching up with these again. It has, unfortunately, made me realise where quite a number of my jokes and stock phrases came from originally! Oh well, if you're going to steal, make sure it's from the best.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sakura

    Delightful, gentle British humour. I have often returned to this book since discovering it on a relative’s shelf in the 1970s. I gave the audiobook a whirl this time and the loss of the printed book’s illustrations (not noticeable in the audiobook as references are removed) is more than amply compensated by the treat of Michael Green’s own narration.

  12. 4 out of 5

    John Ashtone

    So who did coin the phrase "I know the right words, but not necessarily in the right order" Green or Eric Morcambe, both were used the same year (1964 I think from memory) by each? A truly delightful look at "Am Dram", from the actors point of view. Roll on the floor laughing tales from behind the footlights. So who did coin the phrase "I know the right words, but not necessarily in the right order" Green or Eric Morcambe, both were used the same year (1964 I think from memory) by each? A truly delightful look at "Am Dram", from the actors point of view. Roll on the floor laughing tales from behind the footlights.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Graham Mcmillan-cox

    As I said before; a great book - filled with comedic comments (and advice?) for any am-dram outfit. If you're in one; read it and enjoy..... you're bound to experience some of its offerings. Oh, and don't overdo the make-up....... see warts and crepe beard..... As I said before; a great book - filled with comedic comments (and advice?) for any am-dram outfit. If you're in one; read it and enjoy..... you're bound to experience some of its offerings. Oh, and don't overdo the make-up....... see warts and crepe beard.....

  14. 5 out of 5

    Clare O'Beara

    The British writer gives tips and wry comments on amateur dramatics. There is a photo of the author wearing a costume suitable for Third soldier or Second villager or Fourth bearer. Green's sporting guides are his real strength. The British writer gives tips and wry comments on amateur dramatics. There is a photo of the author wearing a costume suitable for Third soldier or Second villager or Fourth bearer. Green's sporting guides are his real strength.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This is one of the funniest books I have ever read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Leela4

    Stories from amateur theatre. Ought to have been called "The Art of Coarse Theatre", as it covers staff and house as well. Stories from amateur theatre. Ought to have been called "The Art of Coarse Theatre", as it covers staff and house as well.

  17. 4 out of 5

    David Linzee

    Mordant British humor

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alan Teder

    In English language,Inglise keeles,non-fiction,theatre,humour,satire

  19. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    An excellent guide to people who have to learn to face the right way and forget their Mexican accent.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Avis Black

    This book was my personal introduction to the delightful Michael Green, and oh, I treasure this. One of the best books about acting ever.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chris Robb

  22. 5 out of 5

    R.Waters

  23. 5 out of 5

    Slashbabe

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rob

  25. 5 out of 5

    Peter

  26. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Hu

  27. 4 out of 5

    Renee Kujawski

  28. 5 out of 5

    Simon Phillips

  29. 5 out of 5

    Becky

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jo

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