Uta Hagen

Uta Thyra Hagen  1919 – 2004
født i Tyskland – amerikansk

  • Wrote Respect for Acting in 1973 – but changed her mind about a lot of things later…
  • Was Blacklisted in Hollywood during the Cold War
  • Was ostracised in the 40s for her interracial relationship with Paul Robeson (See the play 8 Hotels).

Video below:

11 minutes in – Uta Hagen talks about “waiting”. 
17 minutes in – Uta Hagen talks about “destination”. 

Hagen’s 3 steps: 

  1. What did I just do? 
  2. What am I doing now?
  3. What do I want?

Exercise 1: “Always begin the beat with a physical activity.”

25 minutes in – Uta Hagen talks about paying attention to your surroundings, and talking out loud to oneself: cursing and other utterances that prepare you for the inner monologue work before you begin work on your actual monologue.

A two minute stage scene of personal life, should be an hour or more of rehearsal!

27 minutes in – Uta Hagen talks about “areas of reality” (Stanislavsky’s circles of awareness). How do you incorporate the audience in your awareness, while maintaining the privacy of your moment. 

Exercise 2:  The Telephone
31 minutes in –3 different Characters in One Character)

Exercise 3: Looking for Something You’ve Misplaced
42 minutes in)

Exercise 4: Inner objects
(49 minutes in)

58 minutes in: Transference and substitutions.
You do the homework, and then leave it and be in the moment with your acting partner!  

1 hour 4 minutes in: Endowing the scene with reality.
Verbal action.
(Do not use the physical actions just to illustrate the text, but make sure the text IS action!)
(Do not expect or anticipate what your partner is going to do! “Really receive before you send back”. Notice Uta Hagen’s use of verbs at tactics here: “top, undermine, cut, outrage, startle, scare…”

Exercise 5: Recreating Physical Sensations

1 hour 9 minutes in. Self observation!
1 hour 16 minutes in. Playing drunk without illustrating or indicating.