Synopses & Reviews
At last in paperback, the brilliant primer on directing for film and theater that Dame Judi Dench calls “a gem—witty and full of insight.”
Five years ago, Frank Hauser, a retired director, and Russell Reich, his former student, co-wrote Notes on Directing, which Reich self-published. It was immediately acclaimed as a timeless classic—and is now finally available in a paperback edition.
There is true genius on these pages. Just as Strunk and White have done for composition and grammar, Hauser and Reich offer unparalleled insights into the crafts of directing and acting. They include, as well, life lessons—about how to deal with people, anticipate problems, and handle challenging situations—that make Notes on Directing as valuable offstage as on.
The 130 “notes” address a wide range of topics, from understanding the script to casting, rules for rehearsal, how to talk to actors, how to get a laugh, and the key elements of staging. They reveal what got the young Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, and Richard Burton started on their careers, and offer rare quotes from artists as diverse as Anton Chekhov, Elia Kazan, and George Bernard Shaw. Plainly expressed, with explanatory commentary and five valuable appendices, this deceptively slim book has the impact of a privileged apprenticeship with a master director. For the student aspiring to a directing or acting career, the professional looking for new ideas, or the theater lover wanting insight into the creative process, reading Notes on Directing will be an invaluable experience.
Five years ago, Frank Hauser, then a retired freelance director, and writer Russell Reich, his former student, self-published "Notes on Directing" in hardcover. It was immediately acclaimed as "a gem-witty and full of insight;" "so sensible, so complete, and so right;" and "amazingly illuminating" by the likes of Judi Dench, Edward Albee, and Terry Teachout. Gathered over Hauser's long career, and polished to a sharp edge by Reich, the 130 "Notes" address a wide range of topics, from "understanding the script" and "defining the director's role" to casting, how to handle a first read-through of a script, rules for rehearsal, how to talk to actors, how to get a laugh, and the key elements of staging. Filled with enduring good advice expressed in assertive, no-nonsense language, and supported with explanatory commentary, insightful quotes and examples, and five valuable appendices, this deceptively slim book has the impact of a privileged apprenticeship to a great master, providing deep insight into the hidden process of creating a live, shared experience. It can be appreciated by everyone from the student aspiring to a directing career to the professional looking for new ideas to the theater-lover wanting insight into the creative process. Indeed, "Notes on Directing "offers life lessons to all who read it.
About the Author
Frank Hauser, now deceased, formed the Meadow Players at Oxford University in 1956 and served as Director of Productions at the Oxford Playhouse for seventeen years, during which many of his productions were seen in London and New York. In 1968 he received the award of Commander of the British Empire (CBE), one of the most prestigious honors granted by the queen. Russell Reich is a creative director and lives in New York. He served as visiting artist in residence at Harvard University and artistic associate at the Circle Repertory Company in New York, and was a member of the Circle Rep Directors Lab.