Theatre, the Rediscovery of Style

By Michel Saint-Denis | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

by SIR LAURENCE OLIVIER

'I FIND IT GOOD, but a little . . . short,' were the first words spoken to me by Michel Saint-Denis. I had just played Romeo for the first time and about that no more need be said; I merely quote words which to me are memorable because they have always represented for me the two most remarkable qualities of this unique 'homme de théâtre'; a rare insight and a shrewd choice of words in their language which many of his English colleagues must have envied.

I did not myself come under his direct influence until 1938. By this time his initial artistic success in this country had been established, and his influence acknowledged through his presentation of the Compagnie des Quinze and his Noah of John Gielgud and with his charge of the London Theatre Studio. I myself was delighted to be on the council of this and so won my introduction to the vivid lines of his theatrical imagination, and the peculiarly spell-binding qualities of his teaching. I do not think that his influences in these respects were universal, but I do think that those once fascinated by him remained so. Rightly or wrongly he excited obedience, and in my case, as with many another, with never a flick of rebelliousness. You either believed in the man or you didn't, but something told you instinctively

-9-

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Theatre, the Rediscovery of Style
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Plates 8
  • Introduction 9
  • Preface 13
  • Part One the Classical Theatre 15
  • The Classical French Tradition Contradictions and Contributions 17
  • Part Two Classical Theatre and Modern Realism 35
  • Style and Reality 37
  • Style and Stylisation 55
  • Style in Acting Directing and Designing 72
  • Training for the Theatre - The Old Vic School 90
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