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 presents a scholarly exploration of the places, forms and functions of early drama and performance through a variety of ‘non-literary’ Middle English texts by John Lydgate, among them, 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.
Blue Touch Paper
Born in 1947, David Hare is one of Britain’s foremost playwrights and screenwriters. With warmth, humour, and characteristically dazzling prose, this memoir vividly evokes his Anglo-Catholic upbringing in a suburban Hastings ‘as vanished as Victorian England’, against the backdrop of a time in which faith in empire, Christianity, hierarchy and deference were being swept away. It also charts his early struggles to become a writer – and the high price he and those around him paid for that decision.
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.
Shakespeare in Ten Acts
It is hard to imagine a time when Shakespeare was not considered a genius, yet over the centuries his plays have been banned, rewritten and mangled. This magnificent book charts their fortunes through ten key performances, from the original staging of Hamlet through Ira Aldridge’s 1825 appearance as the first black actor to play Othello, to Peter Brook’s legendary A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Over 100 illustrations from the treasures of the British Library include the only surviving playscript in Shakespeare’s hand.
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.
The House of Redgrave
The Lives of a Theatrical Dynasty
The story of the Redgrave family is a febrile mix of ambition, scandal, dazzling success and appalling unhappiness. For more than a century, the acting dynasty has dominated British theatre and film. Drawing on many interviews, this biography charts their private and professional lives, from the brilliant, troubled Michael Redgrave and his wife Rachel Kempson, through their children Lynn, Vanessa and Corin, to the triumphs and tragedies of the latest generation.
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.