Greasepaint Monkey: An Actor on Acting

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9781906817428: Greasepaint Monkey: An Actor on Acting
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A book for actors, for would-be actors and for everyone who has a curiosity about theatre as it is on the inside. Legendary actor, John Cairney, explores what actors have been doing off and on stage as they go about their business of pretending to be someone else in public for money. As someone who s spent his professional lifetime acting, he lifts the mask he wears, looks backstage and invites the audience right into the rehearsal room. He offers a wealth of humorous theatre anecdotes, true and almost true, which add even more colour to the life of the professional journeyman actor. He puts the spotlight on the mystery behind the mystique, the sweat beneath the greasepaint and the excitement to be found in the second oldest trade in the world.

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Review:

It is a tribute to actors. You might not always know their names, but you recognise their faces when they turn up in plays, on television or in films. This book is about the sweat and tears of getting started, working under a director, nerves on the first night, facing the critics, coping with type-casting, and worrying about old age. In spite of all the angst, through it all is the inner dynamic of sheer pleasure in the work and satisfaction in the results, and, above all else, the relationship all actors build up with their audience. This, to me, is the kernel of the book and its main thrust, that theatre in the end doesn't belong just to the actor but to the audience as well. --Dame Judi Dench, from the foreword

About the Author:

John Cairney, 'The Man Who Played Robert Burns', is an actor, writer, lecturer, recitalist, director, theatre consultant and football fan, and has exhibited as a painter. He graduated in drama in 1953 from the Glasgow College of Drama and gained an MLitt from Glasgow University for A History of Solo Theatre in 1989. Cairney now has one of the world s longest running solo performance shows. In a career that has spanned more than half a century, John Cairney has done theatre, radio, television and film. He has performed on stages as various as London s West End and the garden room of a millionaire s home in Texas, and before every kind of audience from Britain s royal family to a hall full of shipyard workers out on strike in Glasgow. His films include Jason and the Argonauts, Cleopatra, Victim and A Night to Remember. In his 60s he returned to university and gained a PhD on Robert Louis Stevenson and Theatre. Recent and forthcoming engagements include writing a solo play on Charles Rennie Mackintosh and performing it at Glasgow School of Art, writing a series of plays on Burns for Scottish schools and a number of performances based around Greasepaint Monkey. He now lives on the south side of Glasgow with his writer/actress wife, Alannah O Sullivan.

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