Five Books About Theatre that are Fun Reads
By Gaëtan L. Charlebois
Peter Hall's Diaries Gossipy, funny, sad and enormously instructive not only in directing terms but also in terms of administration, grantsmanship and handling non-theatre folk. Sir Peter has done it all.
Prick Up Your Ears by John Lahr. The enormously readable story of Joe Orton, a hero of mine and perhaps one of the greatest playwrights in our language. Orton, Gay when it was illegal, was a rogue who kept copious diaries (referenced here) and had a twisted and, finally, fatal relationship with a loser.
Smash by Garson Kanin. Junk, yes, but junk by a man who worked—with his wife Ruth Gordon—on Broadway and knows about creating a smash. It's a crap novel, but theatre people will have a grand old time reading it nevertheless.
Confessions of an Actor by Laurence Olivier. Ignore a lot of the bilge written about him and dive into this fairly self-deprecating saga of a truly gifted man. But he is a man and he deals with his crazed relationships, hilarious friendships and life's wonders and disappointments head-on.
The Art of Coarse Acting by Michael Green. If you have never read this one, I expect a nice present from you as thanks to me for putting you on to it. It is laugh-out-loud, choke-out-a-lung, make-an-arse-of-yourself-in-public funny. I have had my copy since the book came out in the early 80s and it is falling to pieces from rereading. It is a manual...ostensibly. The illustrations (including the one on the cover) are worth the purchase price.
The links to Amazon are for reference only and in no way a recommendation of the company. Many of these books are available in good libraries and, especially, the one at NTS. Or go to The Word on Milton—come hell or high water, Adrian's gang will find these for you.