Author: Dee Cannon
Publisher: Oberon Books
Reviewer: John Roberts
Browse any theatre section in your local Waterstones and you won’t be hard pushed to find a selection of books dedicated to the craft of acting, it would appear that every acting coach from every theatrical institution have put their thoughts into a book on how the actor can improve their craft thanks to their wise words and professional expertise, so you would be forgiven if you left Dee Cannon’s book firmly on the shelf, however once you delve into the book you may be pleasantly surprised.
Cannon was Senior Acting Tutor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) for over 17 years, specialising on Stanislavski’s system of acting she has helped shape and inform the choices made by some of the biggest household names on TV and in Theatre so you can be safe in the knowledge that you are in good hands.
The advice given is sharp, Cannon doesn’t beat around the bush instead she goes straight to the point like a knife to the Jugular. She wants you as an actor to question everything, she wants you to prepare yourself from the go…You wouldn’t send a soldier into battle without the correct training so why should anyone think they can act without sufficient training either? In-Depth Acting is alike to the Swiss Army Knife for an actor, small yet undeniably helpful in almost every situation, I say almost as of course due to Cannon’s own specialism’s this of course informs the style and take of the book.
Dee certainly writes with an authoritative tone probably due to her many years working in education, however with that comes the main problem with the book, at times Cannon’s advice borders on the concrete and in many instances ebbs into patronising, there is nothing wrong with being confident in what you can give to the reader, but textually this doesn’t always come across in the way that she perhaps originally intended.
In-Depth Acting certainly gives plenty for the actor to bite on, it may even bring many new layers to how you would approach a role and for that it certainly makes for an eye opening read. I do wonder though in a 3 week rehearsal process how much you can actually physically translate across into practise…but the fun comes in doing just that, I know I will be.