The Blue Touch Paper
In telling ‘the story of my apprenticeship’, David Hare (b.1947) recalls his life, from suburban childhood, through Cambridge University, tiny flats in Soho and years of trial and error as a young playwright, setting his experience against the political and cultural changes and uncertainties of post-war Britain, up to 1979, a watershed year for Hare and for the country.
Shakespeare's Strangest Tales
Extraordinary but True Tales from 400 Years of Shakespearean Theatre
Spanning more than four centuries, this anthology of 90 stories related to the life and legacy of William Shakespeare considers such diverse topics as his passion for litigation, the company that stage silent performances of his plays and the Orson Welles production of Macbeth set in Haiti.
The National Theatre Story
Drawing on the National Theatre’s own archives, Daniel Rosenthal traces its history from the early campaigners of the mid-19th century to the passing of the National Theatre Bill in 1949, the inaugural performance of Hamlet at the Old Vic in 1963 and the opening of the South Bank complex in 1976. He goes on to describe 60 key productions and draws on interviews with playwrights, actors, directors and administrators to tell the story of the National up to the present day.
Masterpieces of Russian Stage Design
1880–1930, Volume 1
Russian Stage Design 1880–1930 is a two-volume work based on the collection of Nina and Nikita Lobanov-Rostrovsky now in the Glinka Museum, St Petersburg. Volume II is the catalogue raisonné; this first volume introduces the history, theatre companies and productions of the Russian stage as a whole, questioning the assumed dominance of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes artists. The ‘masterpieces’ are presented in 242 full-page reproductions of designs by artists including Léon Bakst, Sonia Delaunay, Natalia Goncharova and El Lissitzky.
Illustrations of the Stage and Acting in England to 1580
Beginning with the Romano-British theatre, represented by masks and other archaeological finds, Davidson presents a collection of 166 illustrations and commentary that illuminate the many aspects of early drama and entertainments, among them ceremonies and liturgical plays, pageants, venues for plays, playbooks, fools and minstrels. The study ends with the remains of the early Elizabethan Rose Theatre, excavated in 1988. No jacket.
The Complete Dramatic Works of Tang Xianzu
A contemporary of Shakespeare, Tang Xianzu (1550–1616) is considered China’s greatest playwright, whose lyrical works mark the literary high point of the Ming dynasty. This collection of five major pieces in English translation features The Purple Flute, The Purple Hairpins, The Nanke Dream and The Handan Dream, together with his most celebrated work, The Peony Pavilion, which has 55 scenes and a performance time of 18 hours: ‘in world drama there is no more extensive and beautiful exploration of love’.
Designing Costume for Stage and Screen
Comprehensively illustrated with period images, design sketches and photographs of notable garments from well-known films and plays, this guide provides practical advice for students or working designers of amateur or professional productions. A history of theatrical costume is followed by guidance on the design process, thoughts about communicating ideas to your audience, an analysis of period styles from medieval to modern, and case studies from the author's illustrious career.
A Star of Life
A vicar’s daughter from Kent, Sybil Thorndike (1882–1976) became one of the most admired stage actresses of the 20th century. Drawing on hundreds of unpublished letters and interviews with colleagues, family and friends, this authorized biography records how she led the pioneering Old Vic company during the First World War while bringing up four children, her tireless commitment to feminism, socialism and pacifism, and her intense, often troubled relationship with her husband, Lewis Casson. Slightly off-mint.
Masques, Mayings and Music-Dramas
Vaughan Williams and the Early Twentieth-Century Stage
These eight essays elucidate a significant moment in the renaissance of English music-theatre. Focusing particularly on Vaughan Williams, they show how Wagner’s ideas influenced English composers who were reimagining dramatic traditions going back to Mummers’ plays, 17th-century masques and the music of Purcell.
The Crafty Art of Opera
For Those Who Make It, Love It or Hate It
Acclaimed director Michael Hampe presents ‘useful rules’ for staging opera, giving examples from his work with singers and conductors. He discusses such questions as how to move on stage and how to convey comedy, aiming to help performers realize the art form’s full potential.
The Queen's Dumbshows
John Lydgate and the Making of Early Theater
Claire Sponsler explores the places, forms and functions of early drama through a variety of ‘non-literary’ Middle English texts by John Lydgate, including dumbshows and mummings, verses for tapestry, The Procession of Corpus Christi and ballads for banquets.
The History of Theatre
The diverse and absorbing history of the theatre ranges from the tragedies and comedies of ancient Greece to the high-tech musicals of today. Derek Jacobi’s engaging reading is illustrated with more than 50 extracts from classic plays, performed by some of today’s leading actors.
The Old Vic
The Story of a Great Theatre from Kean to Olivier to Spacey
London’s Old Vic theatre opened in 1818 with a rowdy melodrama and continued with Edward Kean’s Richard III being howled down by an audience of ‘unmitigated brutes’. This richly illustrated book charts its 200-year-long history – a rollercoaster ride that included spells as a music hall and temperance tavern, dilapidation and war damage, and its magnificent restoration by Ed Mirvish in 2002, and takes in some of the greatest names in theatrical history, from Lilian Baylis to Laurence Olivier.
Journeys Around Shakespeare's Globe
No writer has been performed, adapted and translated in such a variety of languages and cultures as Shakespeare. This dazzlingly original book ranges across four continents and four centuries to show how Shakespeare was fascinated with the world, and the world became fascinated with Shakespeare. Blending travelogue and cultural history, it ranges from a troupe of English actors tramping the Baltic states in the early 1600s, via Bollywood and apartheid South Africa, to the skyscrapers of 21st-century Beijing.
The Playwright and the Work
No playwright has captured the human predicament in the 20th century with the wit and insight of Samuel Beckett. This succinct, thorough and accessible introduction to the man, his work and his ideas surveys the plays, novels and poems, draws on interviews with theatrical colleagues such as Peter Hall and Peggy Ashcroft – and the author himself, who first met Beckett in 1961 – and includes a chronology and annotated bibliography.
The Russian Symbolist Theatre
An Anthology of Plays and Critical Texts
In the years before the Russian Revolution, many of the country’s leading dramatists rejected the realism of their predecessors in favour of a symbolism inspired by Ibsen and Maeterlinck. This unique anthology brings to life the heady fin-de-siècle Russian theatre with translations of plays by Blok, Sologub and Kuzmin, alongside polemical essays by Briusov, Bely and others. A general introduction and insightful prefaces set the writers and their work in their cultural and historical context.
Watching Them Be
Star Presence on the Screen from Garbo to Balthazar
Taking its title from James Baldwin’s comment on iconic movie stars, ‘one does not go to see them act; one goes to watch them be’, Harvey’s book delves into the mysteries of how charisma is created in the movies. Beginning with the enigmatic and transcendent Greta Garbo, he discusses stars and directors including Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, Bette Davis, Robert De Niro and Ingrid Bergman, and ends with a transcendent film and a donkey, Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar (1966).
The Treasures of Noël Coward
From the daring playwright of the 1930s and consummate filmmaker of the war years to the witty songwriter and cabaret performer of the 1950s and 1960s, Noël Coward's broad-ranging theatrical career was one of the most interesting and influential of the 20th century. This celebratory volume gives a resumé of his life and achievements and includes a DVD of rare film footage and facsimiles of 21 personal documents including hand-written letters, publicity material, photographs, lyrics and song sheets.
Matinee Idol to Movie Star
A matinee idol in his twenties, John Gielgud went on to become the greatest classical actor of the 20th century. This entertaining but critical biography charts the ups and downs of his life, his stage roles, his rivalry with Olivier, his personal relationships – and the arrest that nearly wrecked his career. Drawing on Gielgud's own frank correspondence and on interviews with colleagues and friends, Croall draws an intimate, often startling portrait of this great and much-loved actor. Slightly off-mint.