Great Directors at Work (Magill's Literary Annual 1987)
In the extensive critical literature devoted to the theater, there has been a marked shortage of works which take the director as their focus. Critics disagree concerning the extent to which directing is an art, and among the general public there is a lack of understanding about the role played by the director. Indeed, the concept of the “director” is less than a hundred years old, having evolved from the office of “actor-manager”: in time, direction became part of a complex collaborative effort, taking many forms.
Fundamentally, the director’s role is to bring the script of a play to the stage and to establish its “style,” the components of which include the aural and visual pace of the play, the mood, atmosphere, “sharpness of meaning,” and the tone of the production. These choices are often made in collaboration with the playwright, set and lighting designers, and actors—all while observing the financial constraints of a commercial theater and the needs and expectations of the audience. Ideally, the director is what Gordon Craig called “an artist of the theatre,” with jurisdiction over meaning, form, and style.
Great Directors at Work: Stanislavsky, Brecht, Kazan, Brook examines the craft of four directors, each representing a different model of this modern concept, with each chapter centered on the production of a significant example of its subject’s work. The Russian director Konstantin Stanislavsky,...
(The entire section is 1282 words.)
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