Plays and Playwrights


Artaud On Theatre

Bloomsbury Publishing

All of Artaud's theatrical ideas collected in one volume

Artaud's cherished dream was to found a new kind of theatre in France that would not be an artistic spectacle, but a communion between spectators and actors. This volume contains all of Artaud's key writings on theatre and cinema from 1921 to his death in 1948, together with a definitive commentary on the key texts of this 20th-century theatre visionary. Although his potent theories were never successfully realised during his own tortured lifetime, his revolutionary ideas have inspired the work of Genet, Arrabal, The Living Theatre, Grotowski, Brook and most experimental drama and performance work of the last decades."Artaud was one of the most influential figures in European theatre, one of the great, daring mapmakers of the consciousness in extremis." (Susan Sontag)

"For Artaud, the actor is the victim at the stake desperately signalling through the flames." Peter Brook

Artaud's Theatre Of Cruelty

Bloomsbury Publishing

The definitive guide to the life and work of Antonin Artaud

Antonin Artaud's theatre of cruelty is one of the most vital forces in world theatre, yet the concept is one of the most frequently misunderstood. In this incisive study, Albert Bermel looks closely at Artaud's work as a playwright, director, actor, designer, producer and critic, and provides a fresh insight into his ideas, innovations and, above all, his writings.Tracing the theatre of cruelty's origins in earlier dramatic conventions, tribal rituals of cleansing, transfiguration and exaltation, and in related arts such as film and dance, Bermel examines each of Artaud's six plays for form and meaning, as well as surveying the application of Artaud's theories and techniques to the international theatre of recent years.

At the Sharp End: Uncovering the Work of Five Leading Dramatists

Bloomsbury Publishing

What value does theatre have in Britain at the beginning of the

twenty-first century? How has theatre responded to the challenge of

remaining relevant in the media-saturated world of today? These are the

questions that underpin this stimulating study of some of the leading dramatists of contemporary British theatre.

At the Sharp End sets the scene examining how the forces

that created a revolution in theatre fifty years ago have been replaced

by a new wave of political and social issues. It goes on to explore the

ways in which five key writers have sought to reflect and wrestle with

the changing character of modern Britain.

The work of David Edgar, David Greig, Mark Ravenhill, Tanika Gupta and Tim Etchells' company Forced Entertainment is considered, with recent plays examined in detail, an interview with each writer; and suggestions of other writers and plays for reading and comparison.

At the Sharp End provides the perfect companion for anyone wanting to understand the changing face of contemporary drama and the writers whose work is making an impact on our stages today.

'Peter Billingham builds a valuable picture of the [modern theatre] scene in the background notes he offers to interviews' The Stage (December 2007)

Brecht In Context

Bloomsbury Publishing

New edition, revised for the centenary of Brecht's birth, containing additional updated material

In this classic study, John Willett sets in context not only Brecht the theatre practitioner but Brecht the writer and man of his time. Through chapters on Brecht's relationships and attitudes to contemporary politics, English and American literature, Expressionism, music, art and cinema, as well as to such figures as Auden, Kipling and Piscator, the book presents a detailed and wide-ranging account of one of the most significant men of this century.

"An outstanding introduction to its subject. . . will immeasurably enrich Brechtians young and old, especially those who think they know it all" (Times Educational Supplement); "Economical, witty and unpretentious in a way that Brecht would have liked, but immensely well-informed and thoroughly documented, seems certain to become required reading for anyone seriously interested in the dramatist" (London Review of Books); "An extraordinarily rich volume, which succeeds in being packed but uncrowded" (New Statesman)

Buzz Buzz! Playwrights, Actors and Directors at the National Theatre

Bloomsbury Publishing

Containing over a hundred interviews conducted over the last fifteen

years with leading directors, actors and writers at the National

Theatre, Buzz Buzz! is a fantastic compendium that offers unrivalled insight into the work and practice of the best theatre talent.

In these illuminating interviews playwrights such as Michael Frayn,

Kwame Kwei-Armah, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, David Hare, Pam Gems and Tony

Kushner and many others talk about the roots of their work, their

methods of research, and how they collaborate with their directors,

while actors from Fiona Shaw to Kenneth Branagh, and directors from

Peter Hall to Marianne Elliott, contribute fascinating insights into

their ideas and ways of working. The book covers plays by the Greeks

and Shakespeare, English and European classics, and the best of modern

English, Irish and American drama.

Theatre writer and commentator Jonathan Croall draws on the vast

wealth of interviews he's conducted at the National Theatre in this

fascinating and wide-ranging book.

' This is a treasure trove of insight and illumination for aspiring actors, directors and playwrights ' The Stage {Main} October 2008

Edgar The Playwright

Bloomsbury Publishing

"The best review I've ever had was when Michael Billington said, 'like Balzac, David Edgar seems to be a secretary for our times'...I'd like to be a secretary for the times through which I'm living." (David Edgar)

David Edgar is one of Britain's major political playwrights. He belongs to a generation of dramatists - which includes Howard Brenton, Trevor Griffiths and David Hare - who learned their craft in the Fringe theatres of the late sixties. His best known plays have been written for the Royal National Theatre (including Albert Speer in 2000 and The Shape of the Table) and the Royal Shakespeare Company (Destiny; The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs, Nicholas Nickleby, Maydays and Pentecost).

In this full-length study of Edgar's work, Susan Painter examines the social, political and theatrical context of Edgar's career in the theatre and provides a detailed analysis of the plays.

Euripides Our Contemporary

Bloomsbury Publishing

Euripides Our Contemporary is a major new study of the work of the great classical tragedian that illuminates his work and demonstrates both its vitality and how it continues to speak to us today. Taking a thematic approach to Euripides' plays it provides the reader with a wide-ranging and thorough appreciation of the writer's entire canon. For students, teachers and practitioners this is the best single-volume treatment of the writer's work, considering the plays for their accessibility and for their focus on issues and concerns which are as significant as ever in the modern world.

Divided into three sections, the book first examines 'Domesticating Tragedy', the manner in which Euripides gave the world of myth an application to ordinary life. The second section tackles the 'Grand Passions': characters under extraordinary pressure and the extent to which personal responsibility can be absolved through various aspects of circumstance. The third looks at the nature of Euripides' theatre and his acknowledgment of it, the great roles and the playwrights of the last hundred years whose craft seems most influenced by his work. An Appendix at the end of the book provides a short summary of the plots of all nineteen plays.

'A useful, reader-friendly introduction aimed at non-specialists, Euripides Our Contemporary offers detailed summaries of Euripides' plays, along with keen observations on their relevance for today's theater. Walton demonstrates how the tragedian's 'shocks to the system' have lost none of their power over the centuries.' Rush Rehm, author of Radical Theatre: Greek Tragedy and the Modern World

'In this masterful reevaluation of Euripides, Michael Walton recasts the playwright in light of his resonance for today's translators and directors. Springing from the rehearsal room rather than the page, Walton shows us not only why we are ready for Euripides, but why we so desperately need him.' Mary Louise Hart, Associate Curator of Antiquities, J. Paul Getty Museum

File On Frayn

Bloomsbury Publishing

"Frayn has the rare ability to construct farcical comedy around philosophical principles and the laughs and the ideas effortlessly intermesh" (Michael Billington, Guardian)

Michael Frayn is a playwright, novelist, journalist and writer of screenplays. His most important plays included Copenhagen, Noises Off, Benefactors and Donkeys' Years.

Writers-Files is an important series documenting the work of major dramatists of the last hundred years. Each volume contains a comprehensive checklist of all the writer's plays, with a detailed performance history, excerpted reviews and a selection of the writers' own comments on their work."Methuen are to be congratulated on launching this series...extremely useful to theatre professionals as well as to students and teachers of drama" (David Bradby, Speech and Drama)

File On Gorky

Bloomsbury Publishing

Writers-Files is an important series documenting the work of major dramatists of the last hundred years. Each volume contains a comprehensive checklist of all the writer's plays, with a detailed performance history, excerpted reviews and a selection of the writers' own comments on their work. Imprisoned for his revolutionary activities and championed by Checkov, Maxim Gorky ("the bitter") had his first play produced by the Moscow Art Theatre in 1902. Chekhov wrote, "Gorky is the first in Russia and the world at large to have expressed contempt and loathing for the petty bourgeoisie and he has done it at the precise moment when Russia is ready for protest." Among Gorky's most important plays are Philistines, The Lower Depths and Barbarians."Methuen are to be congratulated on launching this series...extremely useful to theatre professionals as well as to students and teachers of drama" (David Bradby, Speech and Drama)

File On Nichols

Bloomsbury Publishing

"We are not short of good playwrights in Britain, but I know of none with Nichols' power to put modern Britain on the stage and send the spectators away feeling more like members of the human race" (Irving Wardle, The Times).

Among Nichols' most important plays are A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, The National Health and Forget-me-Not Lane.

Writers-Files is an important series documenting the work of major dramatists of the last hundred years. Each volume contains a comprehensive checklist of all the writer's plays, with a detailed performance history, excerpted reviews and a selection of the writers' own comments on their work. "Methuen are to be congratulated on launching this series...extremely useful to theatre professionals as well as to students and teachers of drama" (David Bradby, Speech and Drama)

File On Wilde

Bloomsbury Publishing

Writer Files is an important series documenting the work of major dramatists of the last hundred years

Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin in 1856. In the years following his graduation from Oxford in 1878 he published poems and stories which included The Picture of Dorian Gray. Lady Windermere's Fan was produced in 1892, A Woman of No Importance in 1893 and An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest in 1895. Later work included De Profundis and The Ballad of Reading Gaol. He died in 1900.Each volume contains a comprehensive checklist of all the writer's plays, with a detailed performance history, excerpted reviews and a selection of the writers' own comments on their work.

Guide To Greek Theatre And Drama

Bloomsbury Publishing

Athens in the fifth century BC produced a remarkable flowering of playwrights: Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides in tragedy, Aristophanes and, in the fourth century, Menander in comedy. They laid the foundations for all Western drama and continue to speak as powerfully after 2,500 years.

Kenneth McLeish's authoritative and enthusiastic Guide to Greek Theatre and Drama is full of his enjoyment and understanding of the plays. It provides an extensive introduction to Athenian theatre, the form of the plays and, as far as can be established, how the plays were performed. Then follows a background section on each playwright, a synopsis and commentary for each of the surviving plays and an outline of Aristotle's theories on drama. The result is an indispensable companion for anyone interested in Greek theatre. The volume was completed by Professor Trevor R. Griffiths.

A Guide To The Plays Of Bertolt Brecht

Bloomsbury Publishing

Bertolt Brecht was a colossus amongst twentieth-century writers. His work as a director, his critical and theoretical writings, and above all the remarkable plays that emerged from one of the most turbulent periods in history have had a profound and lasting influence on theatre.

Stephen Unwin's A Guide to the Plays of Bertolt Brecht is an indispensable, comprehensive and highly readable companion to the work of this challenging and rewarding writer.

Rage And Reason

Bloomsbury Publishing

Women playwrights speak about their art and the theatre in this collection of interviews about a key decade of British drama.

Twenty leading contemporary dramatists discuss their work from the perspective of being both writers and women. Each talks about the state of the theatre now, the craft of playwrighting, and the pressures of working within a male dominated environment. The book also features Sarah Kane's very last public interview. 'What I think is so exciting about the response to a number of the plays written by women in the last ten years is that they are popular with audiences - because they've got this quality, this energy and this culture that hasn't been seen much on stage before: a humour, sexiness and wit that's been missing' - Charlotte Keatley

Rewriting the Nation

Bloomsbury Publishing

This is an essential guide for anyone interested in the best new British stage plays to emerge in the new millennium. For students of theatre studies and theatre-goers Rewriting the Nation: British Theatre Today is a perfect companion to Britain's burgeoning theatre writing scene. It explores the context from which new plays have emerged and charts the way that playwrights have responded to the key concerns of the decade and helped shape our sense of who we are.

In recent years British theatre has seen a renaissance in playwriting accompanied by a proliferation of writing awards and new writing groups. The book provides an in-depth exploration of the industry and of the key plays and playwrights. It opens by defining what is meant by 'new writing' and providing a study of the leading theatres, such as the Royal Court, the Traverse, the Bush, the Hampstead and the National theatres, together with the London fringe and the work of touring companies.

In the second part, Sierz provides a fascinating survey of the main issues that have characterised new plays in the first decade of the new century, such as foreign policy and war overseas, economic boom and bust, divided communities and questions of identity and race. It considers too how playwrights have re-examined domestic issues of family, of love, of growing up, and the fantasies and nightmares of the mind. Against the backdrop of economic, political and social change under New Labour, Sierz shows how British theatre responded to these changes and in doing so has been and remains deeply involved in the project of rewriting the nation.

Sierz's fluent, up-to-date new study is further proof that he is one of British theater's leading critics. André Naffis-Sahely, Times Literary Supplement

As a theatre studies teacher, this book is a relative breath of fresh air and may make you exclaim: 'Yes at last, someone is writing about contemporary plays, playwrights and performances!'...The beauty of this book is that it gives some of the theory behind the shift in the writing: giving us a social, cultural and political context...In order to understand the context behind new writing, this book is a must read! Teaching Drama

Stephen Poliakoff on Stage and Screen

Bloomsbury Publishing

Over four decades, Stephen Poliakoff has proved himself to be a distinctive dramatist in the mediums of theatre, film and television. Moving from playwright to television and film director, he has been hailed as 'TV's foremost writer' (Independent) and as 'one of our most poetic and best TV dramatists' (Daily Telegraph). In the USA, his TV 'films' have received industry acclaim, The Lost Prince winning three Emmy Awards and Gideon's Daughter two Golden Globes.

This book is the first to offer a comprehensive overview of Poliakoff's work for stage and screen and a framework for its critical evaluation. It will prove invaluable to students of theatre, film, and television studies. Robin Nelson locates Poliakoff's distinctive vision and fierce independence as a writer and director in both personal and public histories and against industry contexts. He charts Poliakoff's 'meteoric rise' as a playwright, and his 'second starburst' in television drama since Shooting the Past (1999) which re-affirmed his reputation as a dramatist of distinction.

While the chronology of Poliakoff's impressive output is clearly laid out, works are discussed in thematic clusters ranging across mediums to afford a fresh perspective. The book covers 'issue dramas', 'quirky strong women' and 'histories/memories' as well as Poliakoff's early developing dramaturgy, and it examines in detail the later feature films and television dramas which have secured his reputation as our most distinctive television dramatist.

Robin Nelson respects his subject and his readers. The outcome is a wonderfully accessible book that makes a convincing case that Poliakoff's 40-year career demands our attention in this media- saturated age. Studies in Theatre and Performance June 2012. Vol 32 Issue 2

Robin Nelson's book on Stephen Poliakoff offers the first comprehensive overview of the work of one of Britain's most prolific dramatic auteurs... Combining insightful and well-contextualized observations about Poliakoff's works with a good deal of historical research, the book should be widely welcomed as the definitive critical guide to Poliakoff. Journal of Screenwriting, February 2012, Vol 3 Issue 2

Plays and Playwrights celebrates the best in classic plays alongside essential works considering groundbreaking playwrights including Euripides, Oscar Wilde, Bertolt Brecht, Samuel Beckett, Antonin Artaud and Caryl Churchill.