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Let Me Play the Lion Too

How To Be An Actor

Published by Faber & Faber January 2015

How do you prepare for your first day on the set? Why might a bad audition lead to a good job offer? How should you research a new part? What's the effect of touring on your private life? How do you survive a long run? What about explicit love scenes? Can you have a glass of wine before a matinee? What's the difference between transitive and intransitive corpsing? What is stage fright?

In Michael Pennington's highly personal guide and memoir there are sections on rehearsals, on television then and now, on who does what on a film set, on the disciplines and rewards of musical theatre, and five directors discuss why the scenery is better on radio. Disability and racial bias in the theatre are discussed and we sometimes hear from other, younger voices who are following parallel paths. There's a meeting with Robert de Niro, and an idiosyncratic A-Z covers everything from Availability to Max Factor, from Professional Jealousy to Understudying, from Voice Overs to Zhoozh.

Infectiously enthusiastic, both conversational and profound, Let Me Play the Lion Too draws on the author's fifty years of experience to celebrate the deadly serious, sometimes hilarious, often misunderstood but infinitely enriching life of a professional actor.

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…a wonderful read and is a perfect gift for any intelligent, presumably, young person considering a career on the stage.

-British Theatre Guide

…Pennington is amusing and often thoughtful, and some theoretical remarks on his craft are illuminating.

-The Independent

….an honest,personal, humorous guide to the practicalities of acting…

- Hampstead Highgate Express

…this highly intelligent book…

-Daily Mail

Michael Pennington dishes wise advice to young actors.

Hampstead Highgate Express,

Aren’t you that bloke off the telly?

Daily Mail 29th January 2015

Michael Pennington on How to be an Actor

The Irish Times, 23rd January 2015

Faber and Faber have uploaded to You Tube a recording of Michael discussing the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZamshBC_HvY

Michael is among the Nominees for the 2015 Sheridan Morley Theatre Book Prize. Other Nominees are David Hare’s The Blue Touch Paper; Peter Whitebrrok’s John Osborne ‘Anger is not about…’; James Shapiro’s 1606 William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear; and Qais Akbar and Stephen Landrigan’s A Night in the Emperor’s Garden.