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Acting Companies and their Plays in Shakespeare's London

Bloomsbury Publishing

Acting Companies and their Plays in Shakespeare's London explores the intimate and dynamic relationship between acting companies and playwrights in this seminal era in English theatre history.

Siobhan Keenan's analysis includes chapters on the traditions and workings of contemporary acting companies, playwriting practices, stages and staging, audiences and patrons, each illustrated with detailed case studies of individual acting companies and their plays, including troupes such as Lady Elizabeth's players, 'Beeston's Boys' and the King's Men and works by Shakespeare, Jonson, Middleton, Brome and Heywood.

We are accustomed to focusing on individual playwrights: Acting Companies and their Plays in Shakespeare's London makes the case that we also need to think about the companies for which dramatists wrote and with whose members they collaborated, if we wish to better understand the dramas of the English Renaissance stage.

It's hard to imagine a better modern introduction to the commercial and artistic business of theatre in the early modern period than Siobhan Keenan's Acting Companies and their Plays in Shakespeare's London. [...] The book is well structured to combine survey and analysis, and a case study in each chapter develops its key findings in more depth. Around the Globe

Contemporary scholarship on Shakespeare, Elizabethan theater, and early modern culture can seem overwhelming in scope, esoteric in content, and impenetrable in presentation. Keenan's accessible, concise volume is not in that mold … Each chapter also offers a specific case study in which Keenan meticulously applies the concepts of the chapter to a specific play. Keenan impresses on readers the vitality and significance of acting companies in relation to this celebrated period of theater. This book will be indispensable for those exploring Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Summing Up: Essential. Academic readers at all levels, professionals, general readers. CHOICE

Acting Stanislavski

Bloomsbury Publishing

Stanislavski was the first to outline a systematic approach for using our experience, imagination and observation to create truthful acting. 150 years after his birth, his approach is more widely embraced and taught throughout the world – but is still often rejected, misunderstood and misapplied.

In Acting Stanislavski, John Gillett offers a clear, accessible and comprehensive account of the Stanislavski approach, from the actor's training to final performance, exploring:

• ease and focus

• the nature of action, interaction and objectives

• the imaginary reality, senses and feeling

• active analysis of text

• physical and vocal expression of character

• the actor in the context of training and the industry.

Drawing on Stanislavski's major books, in both English translations, and on records of his directing process and final studio classes, Acting Stanislavski demystifies terms and concepts. It is for actors from an actor's point of view, and offers many practical exercises and examples as an integrated part of each subject.

Acting Stanislavski also offers an up-to-date overview of the Stanislavski approach, connecting his legacy with the work of his successors, from Michael Chekhov to Meisner, Adler and Strasberg.

A new, extended and fully updated edition of Acting on Impulse: Reclaiming the Stanislavski Approach (Methuen Drama, 2007), Acting Stanislavski now includes new exercises and biographies, a further chapter on The Character, and an expanded glossary along with many other additions to the previous chapters. It is an essential practical and educational resource for any acting student, professional or teacher.

'A manual full of enabling, easing exercises – it will enable you to analyse any scene. The cry of the actor at sea, 'I don't know what I'm doing,' should, with this book, become a thing of the past.' Sam West, Actor and Director

'This is probably the single most useful and powerfully presented summation of Stanislavski's approach to acting available ... What sets this book apart from other recent studies is that the Stanislavskian approach has been filtered through a lifetime of practice – the'concentrate' that emerges is crystal clear, an explication of the 'system' which makes absolute practical sense for the actor ... The primary strength and authority of this book is derived from the single fact that he is an actor addressing other actors with the impassioned objective of encouraging them to take responsibility for their own art and to have 'respect' for what they do.' New Theatre Quarterly

An Actor's Guide to Getting Work

Bloomsbury Publishing

'Essential reading for any young actor' Dame Maggie Smith

Competition for acting work is fierce and talent is not necessarily enough. Actors need all the help they can get with all aspects of the profession. Now in its fifth edition, completely revised and updated, this practical, comprehensive guide contains invaluable information and advice to enable actors to succeed in the business.

Written with honesty, humour and thoroughness, An Actor's Guide to Getting Work draws on the author's rich experience in the field to offer advice to both the novice and the seasoned performer. New material in this fifth edition includes what drama schools are looking for, approaching Shakespeare for audition, professional email etiquette, using the internet as a self-marketing tool, and many more useful checklists and updated insights into the profession.

The Alexander Technique for Musicians

Bloomsbury Publishing

The Alexander Technique for Musicians is a unique guide for all musicians, providing a practical, informative approach to being a successful and comfortable performer. Perfect as an introduction to the Alexander Technique, or to supplement the reader's lessons, the book looks at daily and last-minute practice, breathing, performance and performance anxiety, teacher–pupil relationships, ensemble skills, and the application of the Alexander Technique to instrumental and vocal work.

Complete with diagrams and photographs to aid the learning process, as well as step-by-step procedures and diary entries written by participating students, The Alexander Technique for Musicians gives tried-and-tested advice, drawn from the authors' twenty-plus years of experience working with musicians, providing an essential handbook for musicians seeking the most from themselves and their art.

Anatomy of Performance Training

Bloomsbury Publishing

We train because we are human and we become human because we train.

This is the surprising and original conclusion of Anatomy of Performance Training, in which John Matthews shows how training is a very human response to the problems of having a body and living in the world.

Using illustrative case-studies of professional practice, each chapter addresses a specific body part, offering a self-contained discussion of its symbolic and practical significance in the artistic, and commercial, activities of training. These anatomical case-studies are cross-referenced with other disciplines (such as sport, high diving, deep diving and artisan craft) to further expand our understanding of performance. Stand-alone chapters, ideal for reference, build towards an overall conclusion that the uniquely human practice of training is emerging as a new and pervasive ideology globally.

Ideal for readers seeking to understand the relationship the body has with the theatre and training, or for teachers looking for a new, innovative approach to performance, Anatomy of Performance Training is an accessible, original contribution to the philosophy of training for performance.

Extending his Training for Performance (2011), the author unpacks his thesis that the act of training is a human endeavor that everyone does because everyone is limited by “having a body.” The stories frame ethnographical, political, social, and psychological constructs to unlock aspects of the performer's anatomy … the book is an intriguing contribution to performance studies. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty, professionals. CHOICE

Matthews offers an insightful, engaging, and imaginative read that urgently questions the place of training, and its attendant implications and values, in the twenty-first-century theatremaking context. Theatre Topics

Anecdotal Shakespeare

Bloomsbury Publishing

Shakespeare's four-hundred-year performance history is full of anecdotes – ribald, trivial, frequently funny, sometimes disturbing, and always but loosely allegiant to fact. Such anecdotes are nevertheless a vital index to the ways that Shakespeare's plays have generated meaning across varied times and in varied places. Furthermore, particular plays have produced particular anecdotes – stories of a real skull in Hamlet, superstitions about the name Macbeth, toga troubles in Julius Caesar – and therefore express something embedded in the plays they attend.

Anecdotes constitute then not just a vital component of a play's performance history but a form of vernacular criticism by the personnel most intimately involved in their production: actors. These anecdotes are therefore every bit as responsive to and expressive of a play's meanings across time as the equally rich history of Shakespearean criticism or indeed the very performances these anecdotes treat.

Anecdotal Shakespeare provides a history of post-Renaissance Shakespeare and performance, one not based in fact but no less full of truth

'[Menzer] has carried out considerable research to present detailed analysis of anecdotes surrounding five of Shakespeare's most high-profile plays ... Quirky ... [and] enjoyable.' British Theatre Guide

'How does Menzer establish this grand reading of idle words on plays? Mostly through plays on words. Menzer is a writer sure never to shun a pun or fail to say oui to a bon mot. … The narrative calls attention to the act of impersonation, the doubled reality of the stage.' First Things

The Arden Shakespeare Miscellany

Bloomsbury Publishing

An ideal reference companion for students and enthusiasts of Shakespeare, this informative and entertaining Miscellany gives a wealth of contextual and biographical information to enhance your understanding and enjoyment of his work. There is an entry for every play, summarising its plot and outlining its major characters and themes. Whether you need to know the plot of Cymbeline, the names of characters in As You Like It, or something about the actors Shakespeare wrote for, this book provides the perfect quick reference. If you need to know more about Shakespeare's life and times, details are given of the debates surrounding his identity and appearance, the known and fanciful facts of his life, the theatres in which he worked and the acting companies of which he was a member.

The book is arranged thematically rather than alphabetically, with a full index making it easy to navigate if you want an answer to a particular question, or intriguing just to dip in and out of. The core topics covered are: Theatres and Players; Controversies; Shakespeare the Writer; Facts and Figures; Shakespeare and Language; Afterlife; Chronology of Shakespeare's Plays; A Biographical Chronology.

'This book is not only an excellent introduction for the novice, but would also make a handsome (and no-doubt well-thumbed) addition to the bookshelf of any Shakespeare enthusiast.' The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, June 2011

The Art of Songwriting

Bloomsbury Publishing

How do you turn songwriting talent into a professional career? This essential guide tackles that question, alongside many others, taking songwriters through all the developmental phases and commercial experiences along the way in order to inspire and encourage the reader to find their own voice and write successfully within their chosen genre.

Collating the best-available expertise with fresh ideas about the industry, Andrew West equips the reader with what every productive songwriter needs to know: how to write communicative songs that express meaning and convey individuality; how to develop songs into records; how the writer can function as a marketer and seller of original work; how domestic and international markets operate; and how to act and interact meaningfully within the culture of those market.

Armed with this knowledge, the songwriter is able to engage creatively and financially to make the most of their potential.

Brecht, Music and Culture

Bloomsbury Publishing

The Austrian composer Hanns Eisler was Bertolt Brecht's closest friend and most politically committed collaborator. In these conversations with Hans Bunge which took place over a period of four years, from 1958 until his death in 1962, Eisler offers a compelling and absorbing account of his and Brecht's period of exile in Europe and the USA between 1933 and 1947, and of the quality of artistic, social and intellectual life in post-war East Germany.

Brecht, Music and Culture includes a discussion of a number of Brecht's principal plays, including Life of Galileo and The Caucasian Chalk Circle, considers the place of music in Brecht's work and discusses the time that Brecht was brought before The House of Un-American Activities Committee. It includes lively accounts of Brecht's meetings with key cultural figures, including Arnold Schönberg, Charlie Chaplin and Thomas Mann, and offers throughout a sustained response to the question of the purpose of art in a time of political turmoil.

Throughout the conversations, Eisler provides illuminating and original insights into Brecht's work and ideas and gives a highly entertaining first-hand account of his friend's personality and attitudes. First published in Germany in 1975, and now published in English for the first time, the conversations provide a fascinating account of the lives and work of two of the 20th century's greatest artists.

'Th[is] edition is a labour of love. ... Together with Paul Clements, [Berendse] has crafted not only a readable but a highly engaging rendition of a series of conversations whose length makes them suitable for a sustained read or a more relaxed series of perusals ... [This] edition offers rich anecdotal accounts of Brecht, the German Democratic Republic, and disquisitions on the relationship between politics and music.' New Theatre Quarterly

'Eisler's conversations with Hans Bunge about Brecht focus on their time together in Hollywood as well as on the building of a 'magnificent' new social republic. For Eisler, the 'be-all and end-all' of their work was to 'educate the teacher!' … The most fascinating and perplexing aspect of the conversations turns on the effort to 'study the effect of art on human beings.' … The lesson of the great modernists was the lesson of socialism. In other words, ending capitalism was the precondition for making and understanding great art.' Radical Philosophy 189

Broadway Swings

Bloomsbury Publishing

In this textbook for performers, the position of a Swing - an Understudy for the Ensemble - on Broadway is examined from every angle, showing just how vital Swings are to the success of any musical theatre production.

Authors J. Austin Eyer and Lyndy Franklin Smith draw on their own experiences as performers, and gather first-hand stories from other Swings about the glories and hardships of their industry. The book features interviews with over 100 Broadway pros-Swing veterans, Stage Managers, Casting Directors, Choreographers, and Directors-including Rob Ashford, Susan Stroman, Jerry Mitchell, Larry Fuller, Tony Stevens, Beverley Randolph, and Frank DiLella.

Broadway Swings is the ideal guide for anyone considering a career in this most unique of positions, or anyone curious about what really goes on, behind-the-scenes, in a long-running show.

'Austin Eyer and Franklin Smith are both experienced [swings] and take the reader through the background to the swing concept, rehearsing as a swing, dealing with whatever you have to do in the show and what happens at the end of it. There's a lot of practical advice about learning songs and dancing routines, and combining it – if required – with the role of dance captain. A useful and accessible book about a subject which really needed spelling out clearly. Yes, it's about Broadway but nearly all the advice and examples are applicable wherever musical theatre is being staged.' The Stage

'A revelation! . . . This user-friendly guide explains everything you need to know to be a successful swing or cover on any stage, anywhere. It takes all of the confusion and intimidation out of the job and explains every responsibility in detail. A guaranteed gem!' Lyn Cramer, University of Oklahoma

The Bloomsbury Publishing series offers the best and most essential texts in all areas of drama and performance.