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On Actors and Acting
     

On Actors and Acting

by Peter Thomson
 

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This is a book for theatre-lovers, written for anyone who shares the author's curiosity about the art of acting and about theatre past and present.
 
The first section centres on Elizabethan theatre practice, the second highlights themes, episodes and contemporary taste in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in England, and the third focuses on

Overview

This is a book for theatre-lovers, written for anyone who shares the author's curiosity about the art of acting and about theatre past and present.
 
The first section centres on Elizabethan theatre practice, the second highlights themes, episodes and contemporary taste in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in England, and the third focuses on twentieth-century performances of Shakespeare at Stratford in the 1970s and in the New Globe as the new century begins.
 
The extensive cast of actors discussed includes Richard Tarlton, Will Kemp, David Garrick, Samuel Foote, Richard and Mary Ann Yates, Thomas Weston, John Kemble, Edmund Kean, Frederick Robson, Henry Irving, Ian Richardson and Ben Kingsley.

Editorial Reviews

Theatre Research International

“When Peter Thompson was writing reviews of Stratford productions for Shakespeare Survey in the 1970s, he saw his job as being “to reproduce in words what it was like to be there, but without ducking away from a responsibility to enter into contemporary debate”. This is the spirit in which On Actors and Acting is written, and it is deeply pleasurable . . . interspersed with amplifications, second thoughts, wry self-criticisms and addenda from an author to whom the issues and arguments of the past still matter today . . . Historical practices and personages repeatedly are illuminated by reference to the contemporary, and many of Thompson’s throw-away remarks—such his comparison between Irving and David Warner—are worth their weight in gold.” –Theatre Research International

Choice

“Thompson’s affection for actors, advocacy for the primacy of the actor’s role in the theatrical process, and strong belief in the significant art of the actor permeate this eclectic, learned, and entertaining collection of essays . . . Thompson’s style is scholarly yet somewhat quirky and anecdotal, and very accessible . . . Well documented and nicely illustrated, Thompson’s book provides a capstone to his productive writing and scholarly career.” –Choice

Speech and Drama

“Whilst Thompson disclaims the talent of Hazlitt, his readers, relishing his pithy insights, his biting wit, and admiring his crispness of phrase, will decide for themselves . . . [The book] will be enjoyed by anyone who cares deeply, with both head and heart, about not only teaching of drama but the future of theatre.” –Speech and Drama

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780859897426
Publisher:
University of Exeter Press
Publication date:
03/01/2003
Series:
UEP - Exeter Performance Studies Series
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 6.10(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Peter Thomson has been Professor of Drama at the University of Exeter since 1974. He is author and editor of numerous books, including The Everyman Companion to the Theatre (Dent, 1985), Shakespeare's Theatre (Routledge, revised edition 1992), The Cambridge Companion to Brecht (Cambridge, 1994), Shakespeare's Professional Career (Cambridge, new edition 1999).

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