Spin Into Drama
By Hazel Menehira FTCL, Ret. ANZDA, Ret. NZSB, Ret. NZSCA
Published by Jabiru Publishing 2016
Reviewed by Paul Brooks
So you want to be an actor? Then this is a book you must read and learn from. Whether aspiring actor or teacher of teens and adults who desire to act, this book has it all in easily digestible form.
The author, Hazel Menehira, has spent decades acquiring the knowledge, qualifications and teaching skills required to write Spin Into Drama.
A native of England, a long-time resident of Whanganui, and now living in Cairns, Queensland, Hazel has written this book so its teachings can apply to students the world over.
It is a manual through which a theatre student can gain a working knowledge of performance craft.
Beginning with a section for teachers or the self-teaching student, the early chapters of Hazel's book cover the very important basics, the foundation on which theatre skills are built - voice and movement. The mechanics, the motivation, complete with exercises you can do as often as you like, finding improvement each time.
Everything in this book is tested and tried by an expert in her field. Everything works because it has been proven to work. Hazel knows theatre and a glance at the short biography in the back of the book bears testament to this.
Instructions followed by worksheets and exercises are solid guides to gaining skills in performance. A chapter of characterisation is invaluable, whether training for a future in the craft or if you are happy acting in amateur productions. In fact, the entire book could apply equally to the aspiring professional or the dedicated amateur.
Improvisation, acting style, stagecraft, direction, recommended short plays, a theatrical glossary - Hazel has covered as much as possible in Spin Into Drama.
As one who has learned speech and drama under Hazel's tutelage and understands the importance of all she taught me, I recommend this book highly.
Spin Into Drama is available in Whanganui from Paige's Book Gallery.