Great Stage Directors: 100 Distinguished Careers of the Theater

Overview

What is the common perception of a stage director? A dictator and tyrant? An aloof impresario? A self-indulgent artist? An enigmatic choreographer of words and movement? A skillful diplomat negotiating the egos and whims of producers, playwrights, and actors? The guiding force in a collaborative endeavor? In fact, the stage director is all these things and more, one who labors to present his or her dream to the world by deploying a unique ensemble of stage professionals. The great stage director is one who ...
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1994 Hardcover ABSOLUELY BRAND NEW (gift quality)! ! -ships immediately 816026025. Brand New; 1.27 x 9.54 x 7.67 Inches; 352 pages; BRAND NEW. / NO INTERNATIONAL ... SHIPPING-oversize Read more Show Less

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Overview

What is the common perception of a stage director? A dictator and tyrant? An aloof impresario? A self-indulgent artist? An enigmatic choreographer of words and movement? A skillful diplomat negotiating the egos and whims of producers, playwrights, and actors? The guiding force in a collaborative endeavor? In fact, the stage director is all these things and more, one who labors to present his or her dream to the world by deploying a unique ensemble of stage professionals. The great stage director is one who creates a legacy of inspirational theatrical productions. Stage directors come from a variety of backgrounds and employ diverse working methods. Henry Irving began his career as an actor; Martha Clarke was an acrobatic dancer; Guthrie McClintic worked as an assistant stage manager; George Bernard Shaw was a critic and playwright; and Orson Welles, a child prodigy, co-edited three of Shakespeare's plays shortly after he was graduated from high school. Some directors attempt to imbue a "creative state" in their actors (e.g., Konstantin Stanislavsky), some dictate every movement and inflection (e.g., Richard Foreman), and others try to find the "magic point" in a production (e.g., Ingmar Bergman) to achieve their ends. But all great stage directors have the following in common: a glowing vision of the theater's possibilities; a unique temperament or persona; and an innovative, highly influential technique. The Great Stage Directors is one of the few comprehensive overviews of this complex artistic craft, from early masters such as David Garrick and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe to contemporary talents such as Elizabeth LeCompte and Harold Prince. Each of its detailed entries contains a brief biography, a thorough career summary, accounts of major productions, and an investigation into the working methods, stage personality, and overall influence on the theatrical world of the director under discussion. The book is international in scope and covers directors of farc
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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
YA-Biographical and critical career information about key figures in the dramatic art world, both past and present. The book is not meant to be all-inclusive, but it is representative of various facets and differing styles. Most of the people are British or American who were born after 1800. Leiter writes in a smooth flowing, easily readable style; each entry is about two-to-four pages in length and includes a photograph of the director and/or one of the productions. The detailed index provides quick access when only the title of the work is known.
From The Critics
Coverage in this biographical dictionary is international, though most of the 100 directors are British or American. Coverage is also historical, though most of the directors are from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In his introductory note, the author acknowledges the difficulties of choosing 100 names within such a broad context. He states that the purpose of the volume is to be representative, not all-inclusive. Among the directors profiled are Americans Michael Bennett and Bob Fosse; Britishers Trevor Nunn and Peter Brook; Ingmar Bergman and Orson Welles, who also made names for themselves in film; David Garrick and Henry Irving, great showmen from an earlier age; and Konstantin Stanislavsky, Peter Sellars, Jonathan Miller, Noel Coward, Bertolt Brecht, and several women directors, including Eva Le Gallienne and Ariane Mnouchkine Arrangement is alphabetical by director's surname. Each lengthy (generally around 2,000 words) analytical essay is followed by a brief list of further readings. There is some biographical information, but the essays concentrate on subjects' theatrical careers, describing major works, discussing concepts and working styles, noting weaknesses as well as strengths, and fitting each director into context in terms of their importance to theater. Information is current enough to include mention of George Abbott's work on the revival of his "Damn Yankees" and of JoAnne Akalaitis's controversial firing from the Public Theater. More than 80 black-and-white photographs of play scenes and portraits of directors are provided. The volume concludes with a selected bibliography of nearly 100 works that discuss two or more directors, since titles on individual directors are included with the essays, and a detailed index There are other reference works on theater that include information about directors, but until this year there was no volume devoted to theatrical directors exclusively; now there are two. "Theatrical Directors: A Biographical Dictionary" ["RBB" Mr 15 94] profiles almost three times as many directors and includes a number of younger directors not found in this Facts On File book. Eighty of the 100 directors in "The Great Stage Directors" are also in "Theatrical Directors" but with its longer essays, "The Great Stage Directors" provides more information about each director, and its single author results in a more uniform style. "The Great Stage Directors" also has the advantage of illustrations and a cheaper price. Large public and academic libraries will probably want to acquire both works. Smaller libraries that need a reference work on stage directors could do well with either but may find that the less-expensive Facts On File volume is sufficient to their needs.
Booknews
Contains biographies and career histories of the greatest maestros of international theater. Each entry presents a brief biography, a thorough career summary, accounts of major productions, and investigation into the working methods and influence of the director. Some entries show b&w photos of the directors and their productions. Directors profiled include Bertolt Brecht, Joan Littlewood, Orson Welles, Bob Fosse, Ping Chong, Martha Clarke and Louis Jouvet. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816026029
  • Publisher: Facts on File, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/28/1994
  • Pages: 340
  • Product dimensions: 7.67 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 1.27 (d)

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