In his latest book, Rants and Raves, 2010 winner of The National Medal of Arts Robert Brustein demonstrates once again why he is generally considered unique among writers on American culture. Equally at home with the practical and the theoretical, this critic-practitioner has been personally involved not just with most of the major issues, but also with most of the major artists of the theatre world. Beginning with his groundbreaking debate with August Wilson on the subject of black separatism, Brustein goes on ...
In his latest book, Rants and Raves, 2010 winner of The National Medal of Arts Robert Brustein demonstrates once again why he is generally considered unique among writers on American culture. Equally at home with the practical and the theoretical, this critic-practitioner has been personally involved not just with most of the major issues, but also with most of the major artists of the theatre world. Beginning with his groundbreaking debate with August Wilson on the subject of black separatism, Brustein goes on to offer insights about Shakespeare, Stoppard, Beckett, O'Neill, and other important playwrights. Not just a collection of personal opinions, Rants and Raves is an enduring testimony to the strength of the theatre and the people who practice it.
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Meet the Author
2010 Winner of the National Medal of Arts, Robert Brustein was born in New York in 1927,and educated at Amherst (B.A. 1948) and Columbia University (M.A. 1949, Ph.D. 1957). He is a veteran of World War II, having gone to sea with the Merchant Marine. He held a Fulbright Fellowship to England from 1953-55. After teaching at Cornell, Vassar, and Columbia, hebecame Dean of the Yale School of Drama (1966-79) and then Professor of English at Harvard (1979-2002). He is now Senior Research Fellow at Harvard and Distinguished Professor of Theatre at Suffolk University. He was the founding director of the Yale Repertory Theatre and the American Repertory Theatre and served for 20 years as Director of the Loeb Drama Center where he founded the ART Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard. He retired from the Artistic Directorship in 2002 and now serves as Founding Director. A blogger for the Huffington Post since 2007, and theatre critic for The New Republic since 1959 (currently on leave), Robert Brustein is the author of 17 books on theatre and society including The Theatre of Revolt, Making Scenes (a memoir of his Yale years), Reimagining American Theatre, The Third Theatre, Revolution as Theatre, Who Needs Theatre, Dumbocracy in America, Cultural Calisthenics,The Siege of the Arts, Letters to a Young Actor, Millennial Stages, The Tainted Muse, and his latest, Rants and Raves. He has also written extensively on Shakespeare. His book, The Tainted Muse: Prejudices and Presumptions in Shakespeare and His Age, was published in 2009. He has written three plays about Shakespeare called The Shakespeare Trilogy. The first, The English Channel, about Shakespeare's affair with the Dark Lady, Emilia Lanier, was produced at the Abingdon Theatre in 2009, where it was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His second, Mortal Terror, about the unpowder Plot and the writing of Macbeth, will be produced at the Modern Theatre by the Boston Playwrights Theatre in September, 2011. And his third, The Last Will, about Shakespeare's return to Stratford towards the end of his life, will be produced by the Abingdon in New York in the Fall of 2012.
He has supervised well over 200 productions, acting in eight and directing twelve, including his own adaptations of The Father, Ghosts, The Changeling and the trilogy of Pirandello works: Six Characters in Search of an Author, Right You Are (If You Think You Are) and Tonight We Improvise. His Six Characters in Search of an Author won the Boston Theatre Award for Best Production of 1996. He has written eleven adaptations for the American Repertory Theatre, including his Klezmer musical, Shlemiel the First, The Wild Duck, The Master Builder, When We Dead Awaken (directed by Robert Wilson), Three Farces and a Funeral, Enrico IV, and his final production at the ART, Lysistrata. Following its premiere at the ART, and its production at Lincoln Center's Serious Fun in New York, Shlemiel the First was produced at Theatre J in Washington, D.C. and then at the New Jersey Meadowbrook Festival in 2010. It will be staged at the Skirball Center by Jeffrey Horowitz's Theatre For a New Audience in the Fall in December of 2011. In 2009, he conceived and created a presentation for the Institute of Healthcare Improvement, featuring F. Murray Abraham, Brooke Adams, and Tony Shalhoub, in Nashville called Doctor Hippocrates is Out: Please Leave a Message. His full-length plays include Demons; Nobody Dies on Friday; The Face Lift; Spring Forward, Fall Back; and The Shakespeare Trilogy. Demons, which was broadcast on WGBH radio in 1993, had its stage world premiere as part of the American Repertory Theatre New Stages Season. Nobody Dies on Friday was given its world premiere in the same series and was presented at the Singapore Festival of Arts and the Pushkin Theatre in Moscow, and was included in Best Plays of 1999. Three Farces and a Funeral: A Play About Chekhov was produced by the ART in 1999 directed by Yuri Yuremin. Spring Forward, Fall Back was produced in 2006 at the Vineyard Playhouse and at Theatre J in Washington. The English Channel was given its first reading by the Shakespeare Society at the Players Club in May, followed by readings at the Vineyard Playhouse and the Resonance Ensemble at the Samuel Beckett Theatre. It was first produced in Boston by Suffolk University at the C. Walsh Theatre, and at the Vineyard Playhouse in the Fall of 2007, where it was a finalist for Best New Play outside of New York by the American Theatre Critics Association. It was later produced in New York by the Abingdon Theatre in the Fall of 2008 where it was nominated for the Pulitzer and published by the Sheep Meadow Press. Mortal Terror received a reading at the Players Club, sponsored by the Shakespeare Guild. The Last Will will have a reading at the Modern Theatre this April. His short plays Poker Face, Chekhov on Ice, Divestiture, Anchor Bimbo, Noises, Terrorist Skit, Airport Hell, Beachman's Last Poetry Reading, Kosher Kop, Sarah in Blunderland, and Sex For a Change were all presented by the Boston Playwrights Theatre, and form an evening called even/Elevens. Over the course of his long career as director, playwright, and teacher, he has participated in the artistic development of such theatre artists as Meryl Streep, Christopher Durang, Wendy Wasserstein, Christopher Walken, Cherry Jones, Ted Talley, Michael Feingold, Sigourney Weaver, James Naughton, Mark Linn-Baker, Henry Winkler, James Lapine, Tony Shalhoub, Tommy Derrah, Lewis Black, Rocco Landesman, Linda Lavin, Michael Yeargan, William Ivey Long, Derek Maclane, Amy Brenneman, Steve Zahn, Peter Sellars, Santo Loquasto, Tom Moore, Albert Innaurato , and many others.