Playing for Real: Actors on Playing Real People, edited By Tom Cantrell and Mary Luckhurst (UK: Palgrave Macmillan 2010)

Glen McGillivray


This collection of interviews of actors who have played ‘real people’ on stage and screen, edited by Tom Cantrell and Mary Luckhurst, comes out of some preliminary research for a larger project which Luckhurst is currently undertaking. One feels that, keeping in mind a continuing public interest in actors and acting, the opportunity to present the words of internationally known actors such as Ian McKellen, Simon Callow and Jeremy Irons, was a publishing opportunity too good to miss and, as such, this book should find its audience amongst a general readership and undergraduate students. Cantrell and Luckhurst, perhaps in deference to their ongoing work, have allowed this collection to wear its theory lightly choosing instead to ‘let the interviews stand because we would have needed to conduct many more interviews to make informed theoretical assertions’. Nonetheless, they do use three rubrics to organise their approach to the subject – “Researching the part”, “Acting strategies” and “Performer and audience” – and these underpin the questions they ask.

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