Over ambitious reading list for 2022 & 2023

I have a habit of gathering books, and my books have a habit of gathering dust. I am very proud of my collection - lots of texts on acting theory, practical guides with theatre games and exercises, readings on performance studies and drama based corporate training. These either lie half read on my bookshelf or as pdfs with digitally scribbled notes on my laptop.

My recent Instagram story (read rant about not having enough time to read) got a lot of replies by curious minds. Many people asked me about what all I was reading. Many actors amongst my Insta followers wanted to know about guides that could add to their acting skill set. Non-actors too were excited to hear the term “research methods in performance” and enquired about what performance studies exactly meant. Well I had some answers, but mostly I was too lazy to respond to all the DMs on Insta 💩

So here I am, sharing my overly-and-overtly-ambitous reading list for the year 2022 & 2023 for all those who replied and for all those who love to read. And mostly so that I can keep track of what I am reading 👊

I have tried to put all the readings into different categories but I realise that there are overlaps and some books require a separate category of their own. I have very conveniently called this last category as “random books”. Please understand that these “random” books are as interesting and useful as the books in any other category.

I will be more than happy to share pdfs or send across my books (for Delhi-NCR peeps) if you are interested in reading! Just DM me on Instagram @rochan_mathur

  1. Books on Performance Studies
    a) Theatre Studies: The Basics by Robert Leach (already read 3 chapters wohoo)
    b) Performance Studies: An Introduction By Richard Schechner (completed 2 chapters ….)
    c) Research Methods in Theatre & Performance by Baz Kershaw & Helen Nicholson (dense reading, take your time with it)
    d) Practice As Research by Robin Nelson (fascinating.. fascinating text, read more than 60% of it)
    e) Dramaturgy as a Method of Analysis by Erving Goffman (haven’t gone past the cover page, no comments)
    f) International Performance Research Pedagogies: Towards an unconditional discipline published by Palgrave Mcmillan (collection of a series of articles on emerging trends in performance research pedagogy)
    g) The Empty Space by Peter Brook
Excerpt from Theatre Studies: The Basics by Robert Leach

2. Books on acting theory & practical guides for actors
a) Sanford Meisner on acting
b) An Actor Prepares by Stanislavsly
c) Building a Character by Stanislavsly
d) Respect for Acting by Uta Hagen
e) A Practical Handbook for the Actor by Melissa Bruder
f) The Michael Chekhov Handbook for the Actor by Leonard Petit
g) The Art of Acting by Stella Adler
h) Indian Method in Acting by Prasanna (Prasanna sir, eminent modern Indian Theatre Director and former visiting faculty at NSD, has juxtaposed ancient and modern theatre techniques and discussed both in great detail)(This is a never ending list so I will stop here)

3. Books for Theatre Games & Exercises
a) Games for Actors & Non-Actors by Augusto Boal
b) Viewpoints by Anne Bogart
c) Improvisation for the Theater by Viola Spolin
d) Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook by Viola Spolin
e) 112 acting games: Practical & Performace-tested by Gavin Levy

Screenshot of Dramatic Success by Michael Maynard & Andrew Leigh

4. Books on Drama based corporate training
a) Dramatic Success by Michael Maynard & Andrew Leigh
b) Lighting the fuse by Andrew Leigh & Vivek Arora
c) Training to Imagine by Kat Koppett
d) The Experience Economy : Work Is Theatre & Every Business a stage by Joseph Pine & James Gilmore, Published by Harvard Business School Press
e) Getting to YES, AND the Art of Business Improv by Bob Kulhan
f) The Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey

5. “Random Books” that I plan to finish soonly
a) Bollywood Baddies by Tapan Ghosh (last few pages left hehehehe)
b) Guru Dutt: A Tragedy in Three Acts by Arun Khopkar
c) Shaadi Ka Album (Hindi) by Girish Karnad…. (it’s a play)

Hope I can finish them by end of 2023! Wish me luck. If you feel like reading any of these books and discussing them with me, then just drop a DM on Instagram @rochan_mathur . Happy reading!



Actor's Life (and thoughts, mostly thoughts)

Thoughts on acting theory & performance studies readings, and also experiences of being on set/at rehearsal and drama facilitation. And Bollywood of course