Synopses & Reviews
This invigorating new introductory text makes timely and relevant connections between theatre and the familiar world of Hollywood television and film to help students understand how the living art of theatre relates to, predates, and influences the screen entertainment they are used to watching. From theatre's ritual origins to modern musicals, from the controversies surrounding the NEA to the applicability of acting lessons in everyday life, this book is an important first step toward a deeper awareness of theatre's continuing and contemporary significance. Featuring strong coverage of current events in theatre, the reviewer-praised anecdotal narrative makes this book fun to read and one that students will want to keep long after the course is over. THE ART OF THEATRE is organized into three distinct sections, giving you the flexibility to organize your course your way. Adding to this flexibility is the book's availability in two versions. THE ART OF THEATRE: THEN AND NOW contains 16 chapters with extensive coverage of the history of theatre. EXPERIENCING THE ART OF THEATRE: A CONCISE INTRODUCTION features 13 chapters and a briefer treatment of theatre history.
"I think THE ART OF THEATRE is superior because it relates theatre to what the students already know: TV, film, and what's available to them via the web and internet. Breaking the information up into smaller segments (via text boxes and features) also helps to provide changing stimulation, which they seem to need."
"The entire history section is VERY important. I also enjoy the chapter on Creativity and the Ensemble. Again, we have a class of diverse experience. I find them useful."
"The students relate very well to the book and find it very exciting. The students really like the student website, and I see an improvement in test scores when students use the website in addition to reading the text."
EXPERIENCING THE ART OF THEATRE explores issues of diversity and creativity, presents a full day-in-the-life of theatre, and offers briefer coverage of theatre history. The authors make timely and relevant connections between theatre and the familiar world of television and film to help students understand how the living art of theatre relates to and influences today's screen entertainment.
About the Author
William Missouri Downs has taught introduction to theatre courses for 18 years. More than 14,000 students have taken his class and he has won 18 university teaching and research awards, including seven Top Ten Professor honors. Bill is a full professor at the University of Wyoming where he heads the playwriting program, and teaches in the Department of Religious Studies. Also a playwright, Bill has authored 20 full-length plays, won numerous playwriting awards, and has had over 100 productions from New York to Singapore and from Austria to South Africa, including productions at the Kennedy Center and the Berkeley Rep. In addition, Samuel French and Playscripts have published several of his plays. In Hollywood he was a staff writer on the NBC sitcom "My Two Dads" (which starred Paul Reiser). He also wrote episodes of "Amen" (Sherman Helmsley), "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" (Will Smith), and sold/optioned screenplays to Imagine Pictures and Filmways. He is a member of both the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Dramatists Guild of America (DGA). Bill holds an MFA in acting from the University of Illinois and an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA film school. He was trained in playwriting by Lanford Wilson and Milan Stitt at the Circle Rep in New York City and was a member of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Playwrights unit. He has directed over 30 plays including the musical "Good Morning Athens," which was performed at the Kennedy Center during the American College Theatre Festival. He has authored several articles and three other books including: SCREENPLAY: WRITING THE PICTURE and NAKEN PLAYWRITING, both published by Silman/James. Lou Anne Wright is an actor, dialect coach, professor, and writer; she holds an MFA in Voice, Speech and Dialects from the National Theatre Conservatory and is a certified Fitzmaurice Voicework teacher. Lou Anne has served as voice/dialect coach for such companies as the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and the Playmakers Repertory Theatre. Film roles include Judy Shepard in HBO's "The Laramie Project" and Nell in "Heresay". As a playwright, she authored the play "Kabuki Medea," which won the Bay Area Critics Award for Best Production in San Francisco. It was also produced at the Kennedy Center. She is the coauthor of the book PLAYWRITING: FROM FORMULA TO FORM and her screenwriting credits include the film adaptation of Eudora Welty's "The Hitch-Hikers," which featured Patty Duke and Richard Hatch (and for which she was nominated for the Directors Guild of America's Lillian Gish Award). Lou Anne teaches acting, voice, speech, dialects, and theatre history at the University of Wyoming where she has won several teaching awards. Erik Ramsey is an Associate Professor of Playwriting at Ohio University; he is Head of BFA Playwriting and teaches in the MFA Playwriting Program. Several of his plays are available from Samuel French and Dramatic Publishing. His recent play "Lions Lost" has been developed at numerous regional theaters including Cleveland Public Theatre, American Stage, Victory Gardens, and Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre. Currently, he is writing a trilogy of historical dramas about the surprising turn of events that boosted Joseph Smith from a rural crystal ball gazer to Prophet of the Mormon Church; the first in the series, titled "Smith Unearthed," has been work-shopped at the International Society of Contemporary Literature and Theatre Conference in Estonia (July, 2007), the Gwen Frostic National Reading Series at Western Michigan University (November, 2008), Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble (December, 2008) and Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre (January, 2011). After several years of new-play dramaturgy nationwide, working with both professional and emerging playwrights, Erik was named a Kennedy Center Faculty Fellow (2007) and has been appointed as Director of Innovation and Research Theory for WordBRIDGE Playwrights' Laboratory (2010). Most recently, he taught master classes in playwriting and new play development techniques at Lubimovka Playwrights Laboratory in Moscow, Russia.
Table of Contents
'\"After [reading] a few pages of the preface I was thrilled. It touched a passion in me that I never felt from any of the other texts I have read. From the moment I read \"We have designed this book to take the student step by step through what they know, Hollywood screen entertainment, to an understanding, and perhaps even love, of the art of theatre,\" I was hooked. Bravo. That statement names precisely what I am looking for from a text on this subject.\"\"I cannot say enough about the high quality of this text. My job will be made much easier, overall, as I will not have to spend so much time filling in the gaps that are left by most other texts....Really, really superb.\"\"I can?t tell you how impressed I am with [the author?s] passion for the material. It shows.\"\"The authors have written an outstanding book. They have presented a wealth of information without presenting it in a dry manner. I have...found it to be not only insightful but enjoyable.\"\"I think [the authors?] approach to theatre history is what?s needed to catch the attention of and educate today?s students. The creative sections of the text excite me, [and]...the theoretical and social material appears to be well done.\"\n