UCI Libraries


Selected books on acting and theatre by Robert Cohen, 1968-2008.

Robert Cohen is the author of 12 books on acting technique and other theatrical topics. It is rare for a practicing theatre professional also to gain fame as a prolific author, let alone in the multiple roles of teacher, theorist, scholar, and critic. Cohen has done it all.

His doctoral dissertation, a scholarly analysis of the plays of the eminent 20th-century French dramatist Jean Giraudoux, was published as Giraudoux: Three Faces of Destiny. His first book, it established Cohen’s scholarly credentials even before he came to UCI as an Assistant Professor and launched his multifaceted professional career in the theatre. Theatre, lavishly illustrated and published in eight editions, is Cohen’s best-selling introduction to all aspects of theatre. Over the years he has also published two dramatic anthologies and a variety of scholarly articles in theatrical journals.

Most of his writing, however, focuses on the practice and theory of acting, forming a prolific record of his teaching philosophy that is available to teachers and students far beyond UCI. Acting One, published in five editions, has been the most-used acting textbook in the United States. He has now superseded it with Acting One/Acting Two (2008), his carefully integrated system of acting in both realistic and stylized plays, combining Acting One and Advanced Acting. Acting Professionally: Raw Facts about Careers in Acting, now in its 6th edition, is the most popular guide to professional acting careers. Acting Professionally is his seminal work on the theoretical underpinnings of contemporary acting; it is now in its sixth edition and has been translated into four languages. Acting in Shakespeare (two editions) codifies his perspectives on the challenges and opportunities that “the world’s greatest dramatist” has presented to actors for centuries. All of these books remain in print.