Eric Bentley's graceful look at George Bernard Shaw was first published over 50 years ago, and time has only strengthened the conviction of his ideas and arguments about Shaw. When it arrived in the late 1940's, this book was hailed by the great poet William Carlos Williams as "the best treatise on contemporary manners I think I have ever read. I was fascinated and rewarded in the depths of my soul." Even Shaw himself described the book as "the best critical description of my public activities I have yet come across."
This is the first full-length study in any language of Bertolt Brecht's day-to-day work as a theatre director. Professor Fuegi has researched his subject extensively over many years, and this book is the result of interviews with Brecht's closest associates (including Helene Weigel, Angelika Hurwicz, Elisabeth Hauptmann and Hans Bunge), inspection of the unpublished typescripts recording several years of Brecht rehearsals at the Berlin Ensemble, and consultation of archival materials in Moscow, Berlin and Harvard University. Although Brecht is acknowledged worldwide as having changed our whole conception of playwriting, acting and directing, virtually nothing has been previously published which tells how he worked and reacted with actors, and how his productions were actually put together in rehearsal. John Fuegi now tells the story, evoking the excitement and controversy which surrounded Brecht's work on the stage. He examines the way Brecht applied his manic but brilliant character, in both personal and professional life (though these cannot easily be separated), in order to create the tension and confusion, contradiction and chaos, from which his best productions emerged. He shows how the plays must be seen in the light of their evolution on the stage through innumerable arduous rehearsals, themselves conditioned by the intense magnetism, spontaneity and unpredictability of Brecht's personality. Most importantly, the book charts the evolution of Brecht's own dramatic theory from his early rejection of Stanislavskian realism and his demands for emotional coolness from the spectator to his later acceptance of the power of theatre to involve, even to move, the audience. The book goes behind the scenes to look at the playwright's negotiation of contracts for his productions, commercial agreements which were often highly beneficial to himself but markedly less so to his collaborators such as Kurt Weill, Ruth Berlau and Elisabeth Hauptmann, and it talks frankly of Brecht's use of the 'casting couch', bestowing and withholding favours with the same volatility that characterized his remarkable love-life. The story is accompanied by illustrations, many of which have not been published before. It provides a much-needed antidote to some of the more sterile accounts of Brechtian theory, concentrating very much on the 'practice' but remaining at the same time vividly aware of the social and political context in which and about which Brecht was writing. The book will be of interest to scholars and students of theatre and of dramatic and comparative literature, and it is presented in a lively style that should also appeal to the general reader.
Highly acclaimed when it was first published in 1967, Frederic Ewen's monumental biographical study of Bertolt Brecht has long been out of print. In response to national demand, Citadel Press is proud to reissue this complete and unabridged text.
Of "Bertolt Brecht: His Life, His Art, His Times, the critics wrote:
"The finest critical study of Brecht to date. This book is at least a worthy appreciation of a towering, poetic and dramatic genius." -Los Angeles Times
"What is particularly striking about Frederic Ewen's biography is that it conveys the excitement, the turmoil and triumph of Brecht's career." -The New York Times
"The great thing about Frederic Ewen's luminous biography is that it gently frees Brecht from the bear hugs of the bigots and restores him to us as a whole man, his youth contained in his age." -The Nation
David Hare has long been one of Britain's best-known screenwriters and dramatists. He's the author of more than thirty acclaimed plays that have appeared on Broadway, in the West End, and at the National Theatre. He wrote the screenplays for the hugely successful films The Hours, Plenty, and The Reader. Most recently, his play Skylight won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Revival on Broadway.
Now, in his debut work of autobiography, "Britain's leading contemporary playwright" (Sunday Times) offers a vibrant and affecting account of becoming a writer amid the enormous flux of postwar England. In his customarily dazzling prose and with great warmth and humor, he takes us from his university days at Cambridge to the swinging 1960s, when he cofounded the influential Portable Theatre in London and took a memorable road trip across America, to his breakthrough successes as a playwright amid the political ferment of the '70s and the moment when Margaret Thatcher came to power at the end of the decade.
Through it all, Hare sets the progress of his own life against the dramatic changes in postwar England, in which faith in hierarchy, religion, empire, and the public good all withered away. Filled with indelible glimpses of such figures as Alfred Hitchcock, Laurence Olivier, Tennessee Williams, Helen Mirren, and Joseph Papp, The Blue Touch Paper is a powerful evocation of a society in transition and a writer in the making.
From 1905 to the crash of 1929, Sam Shubert (1874-1905) and his brothers Lee (1874-1953) and J. J. (1878-1963), despite poor beginnings and near-illiteracy, created a theater monopoly unrivaled in history. Their ruthless business tactics and showmanship made 42nd Street the heart of American popular theater and won them the most sought-after stars of the day, including Al Jolson, Carmen Miranda, Eddie Cantor, Fanny Brice, Mae West, and Fred Astaire.
In these mordant, elegant, and often disquieting essays, the internationally acclaimed dramatist creates a sort of autobiography by strobe light, one that is both mysterious and starkly revealing.The pieces in The Cabin are about places and things: the suburbs of Chicago, where as a boy David Mamet helplessly watched his stepfather terrorize his sister; New York City, where as a young man he had to eat his way through a mountain of fried matzoh to earn a night of sexual bliss. They are about guns, campaign buttons, and a cabin in the Vermont woods that stinks of wood smoke and kerosene -- and about their associations of pleasure, menace, and regret. The resulting volume may be compared to the plays that have made Mamet famous: it is finely crafted and deftly timed, and its precise language carries an enormous weight of feeling.
Few American playwrights have exerted as much influence on the contemporary stage as Sam Shepard. His plays are performed "on" and "off" Broadway as well as in all the major regional American theaters. They are also widely performed and studied in Europe, particularly in Britain, Germany and France, finding both a popular and a scholarly audience. This companion explores the various aspects of Shepard's career, providing fascinating first-hand accounts and substantial critical chapters on the plays, poetry, music, fiction, acting, directing and film work.
Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) emerges in most accounts of his life by biographers and critics as a mysterious and sensational action figure, a hapless pawn of circumstance, or a pseudonymous cipher. Constance Brown Kuriyama's new biography reconstructs the eventful life of a radically innovative playwright who flourished briefly and died violently more than four hundred years ago, yet persists in the romantic imagination even today.
Many discoveries about Marlowe's life have emerged over the past hundred years. The author here supplements these findings with new material, placing the dramatist and poet more precisely in his historical milieu. Kuriyama interprets Marlowe's acts of violence--inexplicable though they may seem--as logical consequences of the circumstances he faced. Experience and temperament both accounted for the characteristically brash way he moved through the world. The stringent constraints of Elizabethan society, which encouraged intense political and religious conflicts, had a great influence on Marlowe's thinking, while his ambitions were stirred by the period's unprecedented opportunities for talented individuals to rise in society.
The documentary evidence assembled by Kuriyama--and made available to readers--allows her to show how Marlowe was able to take advantage of Elizabethan social mobility. In the context of Elizabethan education, society, and culture, Marlowe becomes a fully human, three-dimensional figure.--Maurice Charney, Rutgers University "Library Journal"