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An improvised life : a memoir
Arkin, Alan.
Adult Nonfiction PN2287.A685 A3 2011

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From Publishers' Weekly:

More a reflection on acting than a straightforward memoir, Academy Award-winner Arkin's musing on the creative process is a welcome window into the mind of an artist. After declaring to his father at age five that he wanted to be an actor, Arkin spent his Brooklyn childhood absorbing as much as he could from both everyday life and any opportunity he had to see films and plays. A move to L.A. in junior high cemented Arkin's performer dreams. As a student at Bennington's theater program, Arkin also performed with the earliest incarnation of Chicago's now famous Second City troupe, where he learned to appreciate the power of improvisation. Broadway and film roles followed, with Arkin integrating improvisation into his performances whenever possible, a skill he would hone over the years and later teach. The improv workshops-which Arkin taught and stresses were not "acting" workshops-began at Bennington and were also held at the Institute for American Indian Arts in New Mexico, where Arkin now lives. In this engaging and instructive book, he describes his own intuitive approach to acting and the ways in which he coaxed tentative workshop participants out of their shells. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

If you pick up esteemed character actor and Academy Award winner Arkin's memoir hoping to find salacious stories of working with Sondra Locke in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, behind-the-scenes machinations between director Mike Nichols and Orson Welles in Catch-22, or the dirt on Steve Carell and Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine), you will be disappointed. With very few exceptions, name-dropping and anecdotal bons mots are conspicuously absent in this story of a 45-year career in film and theater. What you will find is a profoundly honest and revelatory reckoning of an artistic and personal awakening grounded in the methodologies of improvisation that Arkin learned in his early work with the seminal Second City. His experiences with individual psychotherapy, ongoing study of Eastern thought and philosophy, and leading improvisational workshops also infuse this narrative of the blossoming of an actor. VERDICT As honest and truthful a story of a life journey and arc toward artistic freedom as you are likely to find. All artists would benefit from Arkin's accrued insights and wisdom.-Barry X. Miller, Austin P.L., TX (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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