Albee in Performance

Overview

A premier playwright, Edward Albee is also a gifted director. Albee in Performance details Albee's directorial vision and how that vision animates his plays. Having had extraordinary access to Albee as director, Rakesh H. Solomon reveals how Albee has shaped his plays in performance, the attention he pays to each aspect of theater, and how his conception of the key plays he has directed has evolved over a five-decade career. Solomon pays careful attention to the major works, from The American Dream and Zoo Story ...

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Overview

A premier playwright, Edward Albee is also a gifted director. Albee in Performance details Albee's directorial vision and how that vision animates his plays. Having had extraordinary access to Albee as director, Rakesh H. Solomon reveals how Albee has shaped his plays in performance, the attention he pays to each aspect of theater, and how his conception of the key plays he has directed has evolved over a five-decade career. Solomon pays careful attention to the major works, from The American Dream and Zoo Story to Albee's best-known work, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, as well as to later plays such as Marriage Play and Three Tall Women. The book also includes interviews with Albee and his collaborators on all aspects of staging, from rehearsal to performance.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

W. W. Demastes

This book is the fruit of the author's project to personally observe and document 'the rehearsals of fifteen Albee-directed productions [of his own works] since the late-seventies.' Solomon (theater and drama, Univ. of Indiana, Bloomington) has been studying the work of Edward Albee for 30 years, and his familiarity with Albee as director is impressive. His central argument is that understanding Albee as director clarifies and illuminates Albee's plays in general. Though wary of the intentional fallacy, Solomon fully documents Albee's choices and decisions, frequently shedding a corrective light on texts as Albee imagined them. Solomon is adroit in comparing Albee to other playwrights-as-directors--Samuel Beckett, Bertolt Brecht, and George Bernard Shaw, for example--and to a number of renowned directors, ranging from Stanislavski to Alan Schneider. Solomon includes transcripts of numerous interviews with Albee and many of his collaborators, from actors to designers and stage managers. What surfaces is a valuable portrait of Albee as an actor's director, influenced by, but not bound to, the American method-acting tradition. Clearly 'demonstrate[ing] how central staging and performance are to Albee's conception and practice of his art,' this valuable study serves those interested in both literature and performance. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. -- ChoiceW. W. Demastes, Louisiana State University

Theatre History Studies - David A. Crespy

"A book of stunning revelations.... Solomon's extraordinary thirty year documentation of Albee's plays in production... is a major gift to directors, actors, designers, and others.... Albee scholars, in particular, would ignore this new study at their peril.... It will prove to be an indispensible source and catalyst for future Albee scholarship, and a highly influential creative guide to understanding one of America's greatest and, perhaps, most mysterious playwrights." —David A. Crespy

New Theatre Quarterly - Stephen Bottoms

"Solomon usefully contextualizes Albee in relation to Beckett, Pinter, and other dramatists for whom such totality of vision is (or was) a significant dimension of their practice. At the same time, though, one of the strengths of this book is in demonstrating just how collaborative a theatre artist Albee is." —Stephen Bottoms, New Theatre Quarterly

Edward Albee

"Anyone wishing to study not only me as a director/author, but the creative mind at practical work will be gratified." —Edward Albee

Matthew Roudané

"What is so enjoyable about this study is that it reflects all the complex choices that go into staging a live performance." —Matthew Roudané, author of Understanding Edward Albee and American Drama, 1960-Present: A Critical History

Valley Voices: A Literary Review

"Albee in Performance provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of Edward Albee's work directing his own plays, a topic which has received far less attention than it deserves.... [It] will prove of lasting benefit to literary scholars and theatre professionals as they attempt to capture Albee's original intent and interpretation of his plays." —Valley Voices: A Literary Review, Fall 2010

From the Publisher
This book is the fruit of the author's project to personally observe and document 'the rehearsals of fifteen Albee-directed productions [of his own works] since the late-seventies.' Solomon (theater and drama, Univ. of Indiana, Bloomington) has been studying the work of Edward Albee for 30 years, and his familiarity with Albee as director is impressive. His central argument is that understanding Albee as director clarifies and illuminates Albee's plays in general. Though wary of the intentional fallacy, Solomon fully documents Albee's choices and decisions, frequently shedding a corrective light on texts as Albee imagined them. Solomon is adroit in comparing Albee to other playwrights-as-directors—Samuel Beckett, Bertolt Brecht, and George Bernard Shaw, for example—and to a number of renowned directors, ranging from Stanislavski to Alan Schneider. Solomon includes transcripts of numerous interviews with Albee and many of his collaborators, from actors to designers and stage managers. What surfaces is a valuable portrait of Albee as an actor's director, influenced by, but not bound to, the American method-acting tradition. Clearly 'demonstrate[ing] how central staging and performance are to Albee's conception and practice of his art,' this valuable study serves those interested in both literature and performance. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. — ChoiceW. W. Demastes, Louisiana State University

"A book of stunning revelations.... Solomon's extraordinary thirty year documentation of Albee's plays in production... is a major gift to directors, actors, designers, and others.... Albee scholars, in particular, would ignore this new study at their peril.... It will prove to be an indispensible source and catalyst for future Albee scholarship, and a highly influential creative guide to understanding one of America's greatest and, perhaps, most mysterious playwrights." —David A. Crespy

"Rakesh Solomon's insightful study Albee in Performance appeals to a broad spectrum of readers. Scholars, teachers, and Edward Albee fans will want to read it for interpretations of characters and themes in Albee's plays. Directors and deigners will enjoy the book from the standpoint of theatrical production. Theatre students at all levels can learn about their craft from case studies of how Albee himself solved production problems." —Theatre Topics

"Albee in Performance is a fascinating volume. Solomon's writing is lively... It is an important contribution to our understanding of Edward Albee as a man of the theatre." —Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism

"What is so enjoyable about this study is that it reflects all the complex choices that go into staging a live performance." —Matthew Roudané, author of Understanding Edward Albee and American Drama, 1960-Present: A Critical History

"Anyone wishing to study not only me as a director/author, but the creative mind at practical work will be gratified." —Edward Albee

"Solomon usefully contextualizes Albee in relation to Beckett, Pinter, and other dramatists for whom such totality of vision is (or was) a significant dimension of their practice. At the same time, though, one of the strengths of this book is in demonstrating just how collaborative a theatre artist Albee is." —Stephen Bottoms, New Theatre Quarterly

"Albee in Performance provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of Edward Albee's work directing his own plays, a topic which has received far less attention than it deserves.... [It] will prove of lasting benefit to literary scholars and theatre professionals as they attempt to capture Albee's original intent and interpretation of his plays." —Valley Voices: A Literary Review, Fall 2010

Choice

"Fully documents Albee's choices and decisions, frequently shedding a corrective light on texts as Albee imagined them…. A valuable portrait of Albee as an actor's director, influenced by, but not bound to, the American method-acting tradition. Highly recommended." —Choice

Theatre History Studies
"A book of stunning revelations.... Solomon's extraordinary thirty year documentation of Albee's plays in production... is a major gift to directors, actors, designers, and others.... Albee scholars, in particular, would ignore this new study at their peril.... It will prove to be an indispensible source and catalyst for future Albee scholarship, and a highly influential creative guide to understanding one of America's greatest and, perhaps, most mysterious playwrights." —David A. Crespy

— David A. Crespy

New Theatre Quarterly
"Solomon usefully contextualizes Albee in relation to Beckett, Pinter, and other dramatists for whom such totality of vision is (or was) a significant dimension of their practice. At the same time, though, one of the strengths of this book is in demonstrating just how collaborative a theatre artist Albee is." —Stephen Bottoms, New Theatre Quarterly

— Stephen Bottoms

Choice

"Fully documents Albee's choices and decisions, frequently shedding a corrective light on texts as Albee imagined them…. A valuable portrait of Albee as an actor's director, influenced by, but not bound to, the American method-acting tradition. Highly recommended." —Choice

Theatre Topics

"Rakesh Solomon's insightful study Albee in Performance appeals to a broad spectrum of readers. Scholars, teachers, and Edward Albee fans will want to read it for interpretations of characters and themes in Albee's plays. Directors and deigners will enjoy the book from the standpoint of theatrical production. Theatre students at all levels can learn about their craft from case studies of how Albee himself solved production problems." —Theatre Topics

Valley Voices: A Literary Review
"Albee in Performance provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of Edward Albee's work directing his own plays, a topic which has received far less attention than it deserves.... [It] will prove of lasting benefit to literary scholars and theatre professionals as they attempt to capture Albee's original intent and interpretation of his plays." —Valley Voices: A Literary Review, Fall 2010
Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism

"Albee in Performance is a fascinating volume. Solomon's writing is lively... It is an important contribution to our understanding of Edward Albee as a man of the theatre." —Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism

Text & Presentation

"For theatre professionals as well as academics, this book is a quick and useful glimpse into the theatrical practices of Edward Albee as they reveal his own aesthetic principles." —Text & Presentation

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253222053
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 6/16/2010
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Rakesh H. Solomon teaches in the Department of Theatre and Drama at Indiana University Bloomington.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Contents
Foreword by Edward Albee
Acknowledgments

1. Albee in the Theatre
2. Casting Practices and Director's Preparation
3. The American Dream
4. The Zoo Story
5. Fam and Yam and The Sandbox
6. Box and Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung
7. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
8. Marriage Play
9. Three Tall Women
10. Albee's Double Authoring
11. Albee and His Collaborators on Staging Albee: From The Zoo Story to The Goat, or, Who Is Sylvia?
1. Albee Directs Albee
2. The Lady From Dubuque
3. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
4. Albee Directs Beckett
5. Marriage Play
6. Three Tall Women
7. The Goat, or, Who is Sylvia?

Notes
Works Cited
Index

Indiana University Press

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