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On Directing

On Directing
Your Price: $23.95 CDN
Author: Harold Clurman
Publisher: Touchstone Books
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 308
Pub. Date: 1997
ISBN-10: 0684826224
ISBN-13: 9780684826226

About the Book:

In this classic guide to directing, you are taken logically from the initial choice of play right through every aspect of its production to performances and beyond.

Harold Clurman has been called the most influential figure in the history of the American theatre, and his ideas continue to influence performers and groups across the world. He directed more than 40 plays in his career and, during the 1950s, was nominated for a Tony Award as director for several productions. In On Directing, he presents his own directing notes for ten of his best-known productions and lays out his approach to directing for the stage – from script selection to finding the bigger idea, or "spine", of a production, to the first dress rehearsal (don't panic; the second will be better), all the way up to curtain call on opening night. The keynote of his approach is patience, with yourself, with your actors. Evoking is better than commanding; a performance should be allowed to grow organically, rather than be throttled out of the cast. Is there time for patience in commercial theatre? No, but you try. Written toward the end of a prolific career in American theatre, Harold Clurman also describes the pleasures and perils of working with such celebrated playwrights and actors as Marlon Brando, Arthur Miller, Julie Harris, and Lillian Hellman.

This book is also valuable for actors. On Directing emphasizes that while a great deal of the actor's work is the actor's relationship to the text, another major part is interpretation of a director's needs and vision. He tells you what Stanislavsky meant and didn't mean about "The Method." There is also a very lucid explanation of the importance of super- and scene objectives in relation to the "spine" of the play.

What people say:

"One of the most respected American directors (and Kazan's mentor) expounds on the craft and his practice of it. Includes helpful and articulate discussions of what is variously known as a play's 'spine,' 'through-action,' 'super problem,' or 'main action' an understanding of which is central to any director's authority and responsibility." — Frank Hauser, legendary theatre director

"... the most influential book on directing ever written." — Elia Kazan

"A straightforward, tasteful and accurate account of what it is to bring a play to palpitating life upon a stage." — The New York Times Book Review

"A treasure-house of insight … still more important, a far-reaching discussion … shrewd, humane, and rich." — Irving Howe

"A valuable stimulus to anyone involved in the arts." — Aaron Copland

"[Clurman's] advice is incomparably well worth taking …. Not only would-be directors but everyone else who intends to establish professional connections with the theatre will do well to read this book." — The New Yorker

About the Author:

Harold Clurman (1901-1980) was a visionary American theatre director and drama critic, "one of the most influential in the United States". He studied directing at the American Laboratory Theater in New York. His life in the theatre extended from acting with the Theatre Guild in the 1920s, through his creation and direction of New York City's Group Theatre in the 1930s, to a distinguished post-war career as free-lance director, highly respected theatre critic – first for the New Republic (1948-52), then for The Nation (1953-1980) – and also theatre historian and university teacher.