In the preface to the first edition this book was offered as a guide to what has been called the "unknown theater" of the director. Now almost a decade later, despite the authority and acclaim won by the director in the interim, the theater exemplified by the artists in this volume remains substantially "unknown" as an influence or ideal to emulate. In the United States particularly, where the director has become a star--interviewed, publicized, and paradoxically lionized and unionized at the same time--his work, for all its technical brilliance, suffers from the absence of any consistent point of view, any strong conviction of what modern theater can be and do.
This collection, brought up to date and enlarged, sets forth the original vision out of which the current prestige and often abused power of the director have come. The pioneer directors dedicated themselves to forging the instrument of modern stagecraft. By transforming a theater ridden by Victorian convention into a dynamic modern medium, they aimed at nothing less than the reinstatement of a meaningful institution in which they could give creative form to their image of contemporary life. Their voice needs to be heard in the theater today.