Drama: An Actor's Education

Drama: An Actor's Education - John Lithgow John Lithgow had no intention of becoming an actor. What he wanted most was to be an artist. He pursued that path with rigor, while participating in theater productions just for the fun of it. One night after a particularly fine performance, he was seduced by the roar of the crowd. That adulation from the audience was more than he could resist, and it changed his life plans. Art became an avocation, and acting became a full-time pursuit. Lithgow writes well and generally keeps things moving quickly. He tells some great stories from on and off the stage, and a few times he had me laughing so hard I had to put the book down. Sometimes things even move a little too quickly, perhaps, as he hews closely to the book's subtitle---An Actor's Education. He focuses primarily on his development as an actor, making only cursory mention of many life events that made him the person he is outside the theater. He does own his mistakes, though, and goes into some detail about how his infidelity destroyed his first marriage. The most moving thing about the book is the way John pays tribute to his father. Arthur Lithgow's consuming passion for live theater was what paved the way for John's success. Arthur devoted his whole life to acting, directing, and producing, but never received much acclaim. He always thought of himself as a failure, but very late in life he was allowed to see himself through the lens of his son's admiration. Lithgow ends the book rather abruptly, leaving off the second half of his life. Having read some unwieldy celebrity memoirs, I do appreciate Lithgow's efforts at keeping this one short and readable, but a little more about the time between 1980 and the present would have tied things up nicely. Maybe he's saving that material for another book.[3.5 stars]