There’s no question that reading is essential for actors. The best way to improve your acting is to read and learn as much as possible, and there are some books that every actor should read. There are tons of great books out there, but we’ve put together a list of our top five picks for you in this blog.
These books will not only help improve your acting skills but also help you better understand the industry and the art of acting. So if you’re looking to take your acting career up a notch, be sure to check out these five must-read books for actors!
Top Five Books Every Actor Must Read
To become a successful actor, you need to read the right books. Packed with information and insight from acting theory to real-world advice, they cover various topics that every actor should be familiar with.
So let’s start reading!
- “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare
No list of acting books would be complete without the Bard himself. “Hamlet” is one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, overflowing with lessons on creating a believable character. Every line is dripping with drama.
As an actor, you can learn a lot about how to handle emotions by studying this play. Not only is it a compelling and impactful play, but it is also packed with energy and emotion.
The best thing about this book? The story of Hamlet is one that every actor can relate to, and the characters are so rich and complex that they provide endless opportunities for exploration.
This play has something for everyone, from the dynamic relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia to the profound soliloquies delivered by Hamlet himself.
Every actor should experience the power of Shakespeare’s language, and there is no better way to do that than by reading Hamlet.
- “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
Another classic playwright, Tennessee Williams, is known for his emotionally charged dramas. “A Streetcar Named Desire” is one of his top works, and it explores the dark side of human nature. The play is a classic of American theater and an essential work for any serious actor.
The story centers on the conflict between Blanche DuBois, a faded Southern belle, and her younger sister Stella. Blanche is desperate to hold onto her fading youth and beauty, while Stella is content with her humble life.
The two women are drawn into a passionate and destructive relationship that ends in tragedy. “A Streetcar Named Desire” is a powerful study of human desire and its capacity for destruction and redemption.
The characters in this play are all struggling with their own demons, and as an actor, you need to be able to tap into that darkness to understand the depths of the human soul.
- “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller
Every actor must read many great books, but one of the most important is “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller.
This Pulitzer Prize-winning play is considered one of the greatest American plays ever written. It tells the story of Willy Loman, a man struggling to make ends meet and deal with the disappointment and failure in his life.
As he tries to support his family, he finds himself increasingly unable to cope with the pressure. The play is a powerful exploration of the human condition and provides insights into the nature of success and failure.
As an actor, you need to understand and empathize with characters like Willy, who are trying to hold on to any hope they have left.
- “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” by Eugene O’Neill
Every actor worth their salt knows that great art comes from great pain. To truly understand the human experience, one must be able to tap into their own dark places and bring those emotions to the surface. That is why “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” is a must-read for aspiring actors.
The play is a semi-autobiographical account of O’Neill’s own struggles with addiction and mental illness. It provides a powerful glimpse into the tortured psyche of a man at the end of his rope. For actors, the play is an invaluable tool for understanding the complex emotions that drive characters to despair.
O’Neill masterfully explores the duality of human nature in his book, and the result is a profoundly moving and unforgettable piece of theatre.
Any actor who hopes to reach the same level of artistry must study this book closely.
- “Angels in America” by Tony Kushner
This two-part epic explores themes of love, loss, betrayal, and redemption during the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s in the United States of America. It is an important work that helped change how the world talks about AIDS and HIV. The characters are multi-dimensional, and the dialogue is sharp and clever. Angels in America is a masterpiece that will leave you questioning everything about love, loss, and hope.
You should be able to handle complex material like this as an actor and give a moving performance that will stay with audiences long after they’ve seen the play.
Acting is a complex and multifaceted profession. To be successful, one must have talent and drive and know how to keep honing the skills and learning from the experts. The books in this blog are essential for any actor who wants to take their craft seriously.
With advice on everything from nailing auditions to building a sustainable career, these titles should be at the top of your reading list.
So what are you waiting for? Grab a copy of each and get started today!