In a welter of books both good and bad on playwriting, acting, direction, and all phases of play production, the audience and its knowledge of theatre have been largely neglected. No major work for the beginner has appeared that takes into consideration all the dramatic elements in the theatre and treats them solely from the viewpoint of the consumer. There is a need for a book for the novice in the art of understanding the theatre. A Primer For Playgoers, therefore, is designed primarily for the audience who will view the completed production, rather than those who would create or interpret it.
This book is directed, then, to numerous groups: to those who have been active participants in the noncommercial theatre but who have been too close to develop the feeling of artistic detachment that a critic must have for adequate evaluation; to the countless untrained playgoers who attend school and community theatre performances, as well as the smaller group who have an opportunity to enjoy the professional theatre; to those whose only dramatic fare has been the cinema and, more recently, the television