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The Year of the Pearl: A Year in the Life of New York Repertory Theatre Company

Overview

Here is an immensely rewarding book for theatre lovers everywhere, for anyone who is interested in the interior workings of the theatre, and, especially, for audiences who want to know how it all comes together. David Hapgood, whose own love of the theatre was fired by a childhood encounter with the great Russian actor and director Stanislavski, takes us day by day, step by step, through a year in the life of the Pearl, a small Off Broadway repertory company dedicated to the classics, and lets us watch and listen...
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Overview

Here is an immensely rewarding book for theatre lovers everywhere, for anyone who is interested in the interior workings of the theatre, and, especially, for audiences who want to know how it all comes together. David Hapgood, whose own love of the theatre was fired by a childhood encounter with the great Russian actor and director Stanislavski, takes us day by day, step by step, through a year in the life of the Pearl, a small Off Broadway repertory company dedicated to the classics, and lets us watch and listen to the people who make this particular theatre work. We meet Shep Sobel, the high-principled founder and artistic director of the company, deciding what the year's repertoire will be (Moliere, Euripides, Shakespeare, Ibsen, and Chekhov), auditioning actors, directing that dark satiric comedy Tartuffe, debating crucial points of interpretation, and always pushing his actors to extend themselves. We meet the actors, one by one, and come to understand their dedication as they talk about what different roles mean to them. We see close-up how they turn their emotions inside out on stage every night, and we learn of the sacrifices they must make, working for a pittance and juggling other jobs to keep afloat. We come to know, too, the less visible players at work: the stage manager, the costume designer, the light and sound artists. We meet the whole troupe, share their frustrations and their triumphs - all this while the spectre of AIDS haunts this talented company. David Hapgood's journey of discovery in his year at the Pearl becomes the journey that every audience seeks. He helps us to reach across the footlights and to penetrate the mystery, "the magic that inhabits actors at the moment of creation."
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Hapgood, a freelance writer, spent August of 1991 to May of 1992 with a small off-Broadway theater company. Established in 1984, The Pearl is located in the Chelsea section of Manhattan and presents productions of the classics. The author provides a wealth of interesting detail about theatrical fund-raising, acting techniques and the artistic problems involved in mounting serious drama. Hapgood's family was involved in theater (his mother translated Stanislavski's An Actor Prepares ), and he shows great sympathy for the travails of performers, directors and production support staffers whose devotion to their work causes them to live close to the poverty line. The interviews he conducted with Pearl founder and artistic director Shepard Sobel, actress Joanne Camp (Shepard's wife) and the other players reveal their dedication to their craft, as well as a glimpse into the rivalries that surface when egos conflict. This is an engaging work of theater history. Photos. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Hapgood uses well-documented writer's skills, a theater lover's passion for the art, and strong childhood impressions of Konstantin Stanislavsky and actors from the Moscow Art Theater to take the reader backstage at the Pearl Theater. The Pearl is a tiny Off Broadway repertory theater that produces classics exclusively. Hapgood, who spent a year interviewing Pearl director/producer Shepard Sobel and Sobel's actors and actresses, has created something special. His account is not a historical treatise but instead allows the company to speak through him about their work and their dreams. This book is easily read, but it has real theatrical meat on its bones. Appealing to theater professionals, students, and fans, every library with a theater collection should consider purchasing.-- Jon P. Cobes, Central Wyoming Coll., Riverton
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679411659
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/26/1993
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 195

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