Magazine article Stage Directions

Inside & Out

Magazine article Stage Directions

Inside & Out

Article excerpt

New plays-and new books about plays

The play is indeed the thing this time around, sometimes viewed from inside the work, sometimes from outside - and sometimes both.

As an example of the latter, editor Ben Hodges asks 19 of today's best playwrights "What was the play that inspired you; that showed you something entirely new; that was so thrilling or surprising, breathtaking or poignant, that you were never the same?" The responses are as fascinating as they are varied, and all gathered into The American Theatre Wing Presents: The Play that Changed My Life. There is Edward Albee's 1935 visit to New York's Hippodrome Theatre to see Jimmy Durante (and an elephant) in Rodgers and Hart's Jumbo, and Diana Son's 12th-grade field trip in 1983 to see Diane Venora play Hamlet at the Public Theater. David Henry Hwang describes his first encounter with Equus in San Francisco, while Beth Henley reveals her epiphany after seeing her mother in a "Green Bean Man costume." Also included are pieces by David Auburn, Jon Robin Baitz, Nilo Cruz, Christopher Durang, Charles Fuller, A. R. Gurney, Tina Howe, David Ives, Donald Margulies, Lynn Nottage, Suzan-Lori Parks, Sarah Ruhl, John Patrick Shanley, Regina Taylor and Doug Wright, as well as an introduction by Paula Vogel. Nicely done all around. [$18.99, Applause Books ]

The new "Playwrights in an Hour" series focuses on the most produced and studied playwrights, from the ancient Greek to contemporary writers. Each of the 27 books is under 100 pages, placing the playwright and his or he' work in historical, social and literary context. These are not Cliff Notes-style summaries, then, but an attempt to bridge the gap between playwrights and those who read, watch or perform their work. Robert Brustein, founding director of the Yale and American Repertory Theaters, writes an introduction for each volume. There's also an "In a Minute" chronology, a summary of global events that influenced the playwright's world view; a complete listing of the playwright's work; a list of the playwright's contemporaries in all fields; excerpts from the playwright's significant works; and a bibliography. Titles include Sophocles in an Hour, Shakespeare in an Hour, Chekhov in an Hour, and Albee in an Hour, plus similar volumes on Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Euripides, Coward, Hansberry, Ibsen, Miller, Moliere, O'Neill, Schnitzler, Shaw, Strindberg, Wedekind, Wilde, Wilder, Williams, Ayckbourn, Beckett, Rebeck, Ruhl, Shepard, Stoppard and Wilson. These 27 books should be especially welcomed by actors and directors. [$9.99 each, Smith and Kraus]

2009: The Best New Playwrights collects seven recent scripts that cover a wide range of subject matter. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.