Life and Acting

Trade Paper – $19.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-2673-2
Publication Date
June 2010
Page Count
310 pages
Trim Size
5.5 x 8.5

Life and Acting

Techniques for the Actor
Jack Garfein

Arriving in America as a teenage Holocaust refugee, Jack Garfein would soon rise to the top of his field. Life and Acting is the product of more than sixty years in the world of theater and film, offering the kind of insight only gained by experience as both a teacher and practitioner. In Garfein’s case, his experience is unparalleled—he has worked with a who’s who of twentieth-century acting, especially those associated with the Actors Studio, the West Coast arm of which Garfein cofounded.

In Life and Acting, Garfein distills his experience into a holistic technique for learning and teaching. “The Beginning” functions as a kind of memoir, focusing on Garfein’s own education in the theater. “The Art” describes how Garfein’s exposure to nontheater artists, particularly painters and writers, has contributed to his understanding of acting. “Basic Training” offers thirty-seven detailed lessons for teaching acting. In “Training for Film,” Garfein applies his principles to acting in front of a camera.

Like Uta Hagen’s Respect for Acting and other classics of this genre, Life and Acting will be an invaluable resource for teachers as well as students.


About the Author

Jack Garfein is an internationally renowned director, writer, and producer who has worked in theater, film, and television. He has lectured at Harvard, UCLA, and New York University, and was an associate professor of cinema at the University of Southern California. He is a founder of the Actors and Directors Lab (New York and Los Angeles), the Actors Studio West (Los Angeles), and Jack Garfein Studio (Paris). He currently teaches acting and directing at his studio in Paris and at the University of the Arts London.


Jack Garfein's book is a touching reminder of our early attempts at creating theater without artifice. It is good to know that he is still working hard at it."

—Ben Gazzara