Book: In-Depth Acting by Dee Cannon  

Review by Lesley Finlay
Published by Oberon

Advice from the top drawer is offered here – Dee Cannon was a senior acting tutor at RADA for 17 years and is now a freelance acting coach. The book is endorsed with a foreword by Pierce Brosnan, who urges: ‘So go be the actor you want to be, it takes time, be patient and hard-working. It’s all in the doing, nothing comes from nothing. Be bold’.
If you can get over this actorly exhortation, it’s a good warm-up to Cannon’s almost urgent instruction: this is a career that demands hard-work ‘talent is cheap’ so training is vital. Young people who believe success can be achieved in the blink of a tweet or Facebook update will do well to listen.
Cannon advocates a holistic approach to acting: the actor should seek out the story behind, and within, finding the motivation. ‘It’s not about how the line should sound, it’s about what’s behind the line and what you want to make the person feel.’
Throughout, there are achievable exercises to practise – from experiencing life (read, watch films, learn an instrument, take up a new hobby) to writing your character’s biography. There are some excellent insights to good actors become great actors – referring to your character in the first person ‘you become a character’ to ‘living the character’ where you might spend a morning or afternoon in role. She shares the story of how actress Alexandra Roach prepared for her role as the Young Margaret Thatcher by dressing up in a dainty dress to take high tea at the Ritz with her boyfriend.
You cannot ignore the advice of a great trainer – this is for serious drama students and keen amateurs who would like to add some sparkle to the amdram stage!