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On Directing


Published by SIMON AND SCHUSTER, NY, 1997
ISBN 10: 0684826224 / ISBN 13: 9780684826226
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About the Book

Bibliographic Details

Title: On Directing


Publication Date: 1997

Binding: Soft cover

Book Condition: Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: No Jacket

Edition: 1st Edition



About this title:

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(233 ratings)

Synopsis: ?A straightforward, tasteful, and articulate account of what it is to bring a play to palpitating life upon a stage? (The New York Times Book Review).

In this classic guide to directing, we are taken logically from the choice of the play right through ever aspect of its production to performances and beyond. Harold Clurman, director of such memorable productions as A Member of the Wedding and Uncle Vanya, describes the pleasures and perils of working with such celebrated playwrights and actors as Marlon Brando, Arthur Miller, Julie Harris, and Lillian Hellman. He also presents his own directing notes for ten of his best-known productions.

Review: In his writings as a teacher, director, and theater critic, Harold Clurman often comes across as the most approachable of the formidable talents associated with the Group Theater and the many versions of "the Method," the American version of Stanislavsky's teaching. Written towards the end of his long career as one of the American theater's most successful directors, On Directing is a highly readable yet deeply insightful look at the job of a theatrical director.

Clurman's writing is supremely informative and rarely didactic. He is refreshingly honest about his own stylistic shortcomings, questioning, for example, whether his analytic methods are of any use whatsoever directing the plays of Shakespeare or other non-naturalistic playwrights. His most useful contribution to a director's toolbox is his designation of a "spine" to a play and all its characters, a short phrase always stated as an action. The third part of the book is devoted to Clurman's own notes, from first impression to detailed character analysis, of 10 scripts that he brought to the stage, including plays by Clifford Odets, Lillian Hellman, Arthur Miller, Eugene O'Neill, and Carson McCullers's own adaptation of The Member of the Wedding. On Directing reveals not only the author's breadth of knowledge and literary intelligence but also his common sense and warm sense of humor. --John Longenbaugh

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