Whether one is an actor, director, writer or teacher, Shurtleff's book is simply a critical must read. Shurtleff who spent many years as a top casting director possessed an absolute love for the brave souls who dare to place themselves on the stage. His ultimate legacy to his beloved craft is this indispensable "How To" bible.
Much has been written already about his twelve guideposts, and I have nothing new to add to those already glowing (and well deserved) comments. What I did find most illuminative and refreshing is his comments on how to behave at the job interview. It is in this chapter that this book becomes helpful to even the non actor. In this chapter/section, Shurtleff urges all people to realize that ultimately the pressure in the job interview is on the employer and that a good prospect will immediately put the interview board at ease. All too often actors become so self centered and fail to realize that their performance is really about their audience, not them. The same is true therefore of the job interview. It is about the employer, not the employee.
As a teacher, Audition has been most helpful to me as it has provided objective certainty to an area filled with far too many subjective judgements. In other words, Shurtleff has helped define the skills and tasks necessary to train actors in a manner that will help them transition successfully from the educational venue to the professional market. He has given us clear, active objectives to teach toward.
In Audition, Shurtleff articulates what constitutes good, effective acting. Once that becomes defined clearly, then success becomes not a nebulous ideal, but rather a concrete proposition.
If this is not in your theatre library, it is time you add it now.