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Backwards and Forwards by David Ball; Michael Langham (Foreword by); Joseph Haj (Foreword by)The best-selling script analysis book for thirty-five years Considered an essential text since its publication thirty-five years ago, this guide for students and practitioners of both theater and literature complements, rather than contradicts or repeats, traditional methods of literary analysis of scripts. Ball developed his method during his work as literary director at the Guthrie Theater, building his guide on the crafts playwrights of every period and style use to make their plays stageworthy. The text is full of tools for students and practitioners to use as they investigate plot, character, theme, exposition, imagery, conflict, theatricality, and the other crucial parts of the superstructure of a play. Also included are guides for discovering what the playwright considers a play' s most important elements, thus permitting interpretation based on the foundation of the play rather than its details. Using Shakespeare's Hamlet as illustration, Ball assures a familiar base for clarifying script-reading techniques as well as exemplifying the kinds of misinterpretation readers can fall prey to by ignoring the craft of the playwright. Of immense utility to those who want to put plays on the stage (actors, directors, designers, production specialists) Backwards & Forwards is also a fine playwriting manual because the structures it describes are the primary tools of the playwright.
Publication Date: 1983-07-07
A Student Guide to Play Analysis by David RushWith the skills of a playwright, the vision of a producer, and the wisdom of an experienced teacher, David Rush offers a fresh and innovative guide to interpreting drama in A Student Guide to Play Analysis, the first undergraduate teaching tool to address postmodern drama in addition to classic and modern. Covering a wide gamut of texts and genres, this far-reaching and user-friendly volume is easily paired with most anthologies of plays and is accessible even to those without a literary background. Contending that there are no right or wrong answers in play analysis, Rush emphasizes the importance of students developing insights of their own. The process is twofold: understand the critical terms that are used to define various parts and then apply these to a particular play. Rush clarifies the concepts of plot, character, and language, advancing Aristotle's concept of the Four Causes as a method for approaching a play through various critical windows. He describes the essential difference between a story and a play, outlines four ways of looking at plays, and then takes up the typical structural devices of a well-made play, four primary genres and their hybrids, and numerous styles, from expressionism to postmodernism. For each subject, he defines critical norms and analyzes plays common to the canon. A Student Guide to Play Analysis draws on thoughtful examinations of such dramas as The Cherry Orchard, The Good Woman of Setzuan, Fences, The Little Foxes, A Doll House, The Glass Menagerie, and The Emperor Jones. Each chapter ends with a list of questions that will guide students in further study.