It felt great to be able to give people something that they were so eager to get. Or perhaps, to know that they were so eager to get something that I had created. The feedback was almost immediate. I gave a copy to Kent Brown from the Dramatic Publishing booth (we seem to always end up across the aisle from each other at these conferences), and he was back at me almost immediately declaring that it “reads like a house afire!”
I got back to Chickamauga with two days to finish packing up the apartment, waved goodbye to the horse farm and headed north. My first stop was just outside Cincinnati, at a high school where they were producing my “Tartuffe.” The students there were jazzed at meeting me (a couple of them were already fans of my work on-line), and asked a bunch of intelligent questions, before I took them through my usual acting workshop. As we wrapped things up, one girl got the idea to have me autograph her script, and then the rest of the cast grabbed their scripts and got in line.
After reading this book it dawned on me that this could be the modern manual for the Director and the Actor. This is written with the insight of Hagen, Adler, and Spolin but it is 100% Mooney. It is a fun romp through the life of Mooney but more than that, we the Director, we the Actor can take away so much from it. It truly is a must read!
From Fayette, I swung south, through Harrisonburg, to drop in on my Costume Designer, Kathy, who’d finished a new shirt for the Shakespeare show. It was very billowing and flowing, with puffy sleeves… Not my usual style, but I must admit it looks very good in the video clips! From there it was on to Norfolk, to spend the weekend with Dad and Maureen and Tim, followed by a stop in South Carolina to drop in on my friends in Greenwood (Bess had recently broken her foot, so she didn’t have much time for visiting), and then a few more days down in Orlando, where my hosts Gale and Al were dealing with Gale having broken her arm a day or so before I arrived! (Disasters were leading the way ahead of me…)
|Dad posing with Neptune... Virginia Beach, VA|
With some significant down time, I was able to focus on moving my operations from one computer to another. Over the last 10 years, I I’ve replaced my laptop perhaps five or six times, either because it had been stolen (once), or because it had crashed or slowed to a crawl (the other four times). With a little extra money in my pocket, I decided that it was time to move into the Mac universe. It’s taken a lot of getting used to… mostly in terms of finding where the system has stashed my various files, and how I can dig them out, and it’s been a disorienting several weeks, but I think I’m finally back up to speed. The one realm where Mac is acknowledged as superior to PC is in the realm of video… and knowing that I had some serious video work coming my way, I wanted to get my stuff assembled in ways that I’d be able to make the best use of it.
One of my major tasks was to transfer my e-mail information from Microsoft Mail to Outlook, and while I could get Outlook to read the 6000+ e-mail addresses in my computer, it would not differentiate those addresses that had been added to the "View From Here" group. I spent a couple of days transferring my PC group list over to my Mac group list, and in the process seem to have gone from about 1200+ group members to about 1100+ group members. Somewhere along the way I lost 100 people. I also added back in a few names that I think had been mistakenly stricken from the group list, but if the notice for this blog is arriving unwelcome to your inbox, please let me know!
★★★★★ “Success on the Stage of Life” Jennifer Hallenbeck
Timothy Mooney wowed our high school with his "Moliere Than Thou" performance a few years ago! Everyone wondered how he does it - great personal presence and an ability to communicate with people of all ages and interests. He reveals his techniques in this book - must for both educators and non-educators alike. You don't need to be interested in classical theater to learn how to be one of the great actors of our time on your own personal stage. I don't teach theater, but I have started using his exercises to help my students find their own voice in the world. Thank you Tim!
★★★★★ “A practical, informative, and entertaining read!” Aaron
Tim Mooney's book combines his in-depth knowledge of performance and theatre history along with his years of experience touring shows to bring a very "nuts-and-bolts" approach to acting the Classics. His insight into the Shakespearean character alone is worth the price, but he provides useful and thoughtful analysis into Moliere, Chekhov, and other playwrights' works as well. I have and would recommend this to the casual or avid theatergoer, the theatre educator, and the performer who desires to know more about how characters are brought to life from an historical, stylistic, and practical approach.
★★★★★ “Not just your average acting book” Dennis
I've been acquainted with Tim and his performances for about five years now. I've been amazed by the personal intensity of his performances, by his intense yet relaxed style, and by the incredible attention to detail, no matter where he is performing. That led to my interest in this book. What Tim has brought to it is the length and breadth of his knowledge and experience.
The book combines a comprehensive understanding of modern "method" based performance styles with a reflection back to an older system that apprenticed young actors into a troupe, and gave them the basic skills needed to survive as a theatre professional. Powerful and empowering.
By looking elsewhere at Amazon, you can find any number of basic acting texts and professional advice guides. Both of these types are handy in their own way, but this book is unique. It's not afraid to call both to task for their limitations. One type concentrates on inner life and imagination, the other on survival. What Tim manages to do is to concentrate on a lifetime of acting, the skills needed and how to insure that the performance gets done (and pleases the audience-and gets you cast for the next show, too).
While the book is extremely readable, it's not limited to one or two "beginners" exercises, it is far more complex and necessary than that. I would probably not use it for a replacement to Benedetti or Cohen, but it's necessary for every serious actor's shelf.
“Tim has a particular talent to inspire students to explore the classics, leading them to learn in ways they never thought possible. One performance with Tim equals a week of teaching and a lifetime of appreciation.” (Michael Stiles, Musselman High School)
Classical acting made accessible and dare I say… fun??? Celi Oliveto
Wow... what a great text. I would highly recommend this text to any teacher who wants to dip his or her toes into the (seemingly) intimidating world of classical theatre. I met Mr. Mooney and attended his workshop at the 2011 SETC conference where I was able to see one of his activities in action. What amazing results they produced! I participated in the exercise where Mr. Mooney took two young women from the audience and asked them to perform a short dialogue from a Moliere play. The two did well for a cold reading, but lacked subtext, active verbs, and basic characterization. After a slight adjustment from Mr. Mooney, which can be found as an activity in the textbook, the two performers literally lit the room on fire! It was amazing to see the transformation and improvement in the quality of the performance after participating in the simple game. The game involved active audience participation, which is great for high school students watching their peers perform and who can't seem to keep their minds or their hands off their cell phones. Mr. Mooney makes Shakespeare and Moliere fun, engaging, and most importantly [un]intimidating. This is probably the most accessible approach to classical style that I have ever seen and gives students a great base from which to create character, explore the language, and connect with the story.
I recently had the pleasure of watching Mr. Mooney's performance at the West Virginia State Thespian Conference and the reaction from my student's speaks to the quality of his work. One of the highest compliments came when I was sitting at dinner and my student said, "I hate Shakespeare, but I really liked that show. It was really funny and I understood him!" After I got over the urge to chastise her for berating poor William Shakespeare, I thought, "How amazing and fortunate that she was able to see a high quality/ energy performer who was able to open up Shakespeare in a new way and take the scary out of the story."
“It’s really wonderful to have a solid approach to strictly attacking classical material.” (Celi Oliveto)
“I did some skimming and like what I saw. In fact, mentioned your advice today about the fundamental necessity of being heard to some students at a KCACTF response I did at FIU.” (Don Butler, Palm Beach Atlantic University)
“I browsed through it at first and have been reading it in earnest the past 2 days. Excellent ideas & practical information…(I can’t agree more with the idea of clarity, and your approach looks like it works.)” (Michael Hawley, Alabama State U)
“Its incredibly good, and an easy read… I’ve really savored how every point is backed up by some proof or example… you made your points easily understandable… so bluntly obvious.” (Haden York)
“Fascinating, entertaining and well-written. Mooney has the kind of fast-paced, quick wit acting that keeps Moliere alive and keeps the spectator riveted to him. Well, that’s exactly what he has done with his book. Succinctly, the masterful actor and the coruscating book are both sui generis. Bravo!” (Mel B. Yoken, Chancellor Professor Emeritus, U-Massachusetts-Dartmouth)
“What a delight! It is written with verve and refreshing common sense and concise economy. It will have an impact.” (Stanley Longman, U-Georgia)
“I was rather surprised and truthfully a bit disappointed when I reached the end of the book. Even though I’m not an actor, I kept finding things I knew, things I did… I am, in fact, using your ideas on how to memorize to help my students memorize their Victor Hugo poem.” (Jennifer J. Moody, Auburn University)
On the i-pod: “Has Been” by William Shatner with Ben Folds
Via Netflix: Old episodes of “Dead Like Me” (by the folks who brought you “Pushing Daisies” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”
Discoveries: Layering in an entirely new aspect of my career, on top of, and within a career that was already fairly busy, transforms the work, generates a beehive of activity, and gives an added power to some things that I was already doing… like putting cork inside a baseball bat. * After 8 years of sitting on my manuscript, rewriting and rewriting, always looking for and finding the flaws that were hiding on each page, turning it loose to the world at large was an act of what felt like foolhardy bravery or arrogance or hubris, but the raging criticism that I thought I was throwing this book into the face of has not surfaced… in fact, quite the opposite. * I had about two weeks of not knowing why I was feeling somewhat lost and unfocused and a bit bewildered, almost as if I had lost my eyeglasses. I realized: “Hey, you just switched from PC to Mac! Which means that every single program you rely on to carve out your computer-generated existence is nothing like what it was. Cut yourself some slack!” (I’ve been better since that little conversation.) * The slightest implied or imagined bit of disapproval seems to lead me down a path of self-denial… in fact a denial of the success of what I myself witnessed. When the host was not around to commend my successful show, I immediately went to a place of “Oh, shit; what did I do wrong?” It seems to have been a lifetime of work to allow my own impressions to be valid, without turning to someone else for approval or affirmation. * Speaking of which, just to affirm for myself for a moment: It seems that I have written a really good book. In fact, I enjoy opening it to random pages and realizing… “That’s a really good insight… I’m glad I included that!”
Attendance: 25 + 15 + 100 + 200 + 50 + 300 + 500 +100 + 300 = 1,590
Next Performances: U-Denver (4/22), Idyllwild Arts Academy (4/25), Mount Hood Community College (4/27), U-Wisconsin Green Bay (5/2), maybe something at North Central College (Naperville, IL) (5/4-17)