Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Five best books on theatre

John Heilpern's books include Conference of the Birds: The Story of Peter Brook in Africa and How Good Is David Mamet, Anyway? Writings on Theater—and Why It Matters. He writes the "Out to Lunch" column for Vanity Fair.

One of his five best books on theater as told to the Wall Street Journal:
The Empty Space
by Peter Brook (1968)

Peter Brook's manifesto was considered revolutionary when it was first published—yet, more than 40 years on, it remains urgently needed, and my copy is well-thumbed. "I can take an empty space and call it a bare stage" go the famous director's opening words, like a clarion call. "A man walks across the empty space while someone else is watching him, and this is all that is needed for an act of theatre to be engaged." Brook—who is still directing in his 80s—was sounding the battle cry for a theater of unadorned simplicity that trusts the power of our imagination. This formative book is an antidote to the facile faux-magic of video tricks and high-tech sets that dwarf and dominate the stage (and the performer). Brook is saying: "Look! The magician has nothing up his sleeves."
Read about another title on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue