Bernard Shaw: Theatrics
Published: August 1995© 1995
254 Pages, 6.27 x 9.26 x 1.00 in
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In his introduction Dan H. Laurence notes that 'theatrics' connotes not only activities of a theatrical character but behaviour that manifests itself as theatricality. All the correspondence selected for this volume - most of it hitherto unpublished - relates to Bernard Shaw's theatre dealings and theatrical interest, at the same time attesting to the 'histrionic instinct' and 'theatrified imagination' (his own phrases) of the man who penned them.
More than one hundred letters are represented, starting from mid-1889, when Shaw had not yet completed his first play and was known instead as a music critic, journalist, socialist organizer, and street orator. The letters reveal a consummate man of the theatre: a dramatist, director, actor, designer, publicist, financial backer, translator, and critic concerned with such varied issues as censorship, theatre politics, prying journalists, and wireless and television performance. The letters are shaded with histrionic tones of assumed anger, irritation, and anguish. The style invariably is colloquial, free-flowing, ebullient - and personal.
'Playgoers - from tourists...to Shaw scholars, will enjoy reading this interesting lively collection of letters. Is should also be immensely helpful to directors and actors of Shaw plays in its interpretation of charactes and directions about stage business. For literary critics and Shaw scholars, the collection offers fresh insight into Shaw's drama and his personality.'Elsie B. Adams, English Literature in Transition
'Bernard Shaw Theatrics provides a fascinating look into the backstage life of English theatre between the years 1889 and 1950.'R. Kerry White, Canadian Book Review Annual
'All one need say about Theatrics is that Dan Laurence has brought a depth and breadth of knowledge to the subject that only he could have managed.'Leon Hugo, Review