One of his five best books about life in the theatre, as told to the Wall Street Journal:
Next SeasonRead about another book on Callow's list.
by Michael Blakemore (1968)
Blakemore is a highly distinguished director, both in the West End and on Broadway, but unlike many directors of the present age he started as an actor. He has written a dazzling memoir of his early days in the theater, 2004's "Arguments With England" (he is Australian by origin), but his only novel, set in what is recognizably the Stratford-upon-Avon of the late 1950s—when great theatrical beasts like Olivier and Laughton still walked the land—is an incomparable account of life inside a great company viewed from the other ranks. The stars are precisely and illuminatingly etched, and the frustrating experience of an ambitious but disappointed young actor is painfully conveyed. The novel depicts a turning point in the British theater, just before the foundation of the Royal Shakespeare Co. and the National Theatre, the point at which directors finally wrested control from actors. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the book is its depiction of the awakening sensibility of a director of genius, Blakemore himself.
See--Simon Callow's six best books.