A Director Prepares is a thought-provoking examination of the challenges of making theatre. In it, Anne Bogart speaks candidly and with wisdom of the courage. From the Introduction. ••• A Director Prepares is a fascinating and thought- provoking examination of the challenges of making theatre. In it,. Anne Bogart speaks. Film and theatre critic Douglas Singleton examines Anne Bogart’s A Director Prepares: Seven Essays on Art and Theater as a text not only concerning the role of.

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One expects to encounter the trio of Bakhtin, Brecht, and Barthes throughout the intepretive chapters of The Text in Play, but instead their appearances become occasional and often rather fleeting. Introducing the chapter on Grass, Wertenbaker, and Brenton, for instance, Baker-White informs us that “the rehearsive mode in each is examined in light of Barthesian, Directorr, and Bakhtinian concerns” 89yet that statement only really directorr to his discussion of The Churchill Play.

Such inconsistency would not strike me as a problem if Baker-White did not so explicitly set up the three Bs as his theoretical framework. In fact, when his analyses do not draw on Bakhtin, Brecht, or Didector, they often make effective use of other writers’ theoretical concepts, such as Derrida’s repetition.

In other respects too, it appears that Baker-White’s reflections about rehearsal spawned more ideas than he could organize quite as he wished to; for instance, in the last thirty pages or so he highlights the notion of”rehearsive becoming,” without having introduced it or clearly tied it in with other concepts. Still, he did take on a challenging topic that, as he mentions more than once, defies fixity. Baker-White’s rich and wide-ranging exploration of that topic in The Text in Play makes a valuable contribution both to our understanding of the familiar yet elusive process of rehearsal and to the study of several outstanding works of twentieth-century theatre.


Seven Essays on Art and Theatre.


Reviewed by Carrie Kathryn Lee, Bowling Green State University Anne Bogart is best known for her innovative work with “viewpoints” in theatrical performance, a basic methodology for working with actors in negotiating movement through space and time. In A Director Prepares: Seven Essays on Art and Theatre, she provides insight into her own artistic development, while directorr straightforward advice to both the novice and the experienced director.

Her emphasis in the book is primarily on her professional practices, but she also uses details from her personal life to support and illuminate her PQints. In keeping with her no-nonsense reputation, her writing is blunt, honest, and critically reflective, providing a glimpse into her theatrical “journey outward towards other cultures,ideas and people” 6.

A Director Prepares is comprised of seven essays addressing what Bogart describes as the “consistent problems that just do not go away” 2 for the director.

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The structure of the volume is non-linear, with each essay offering insight into a specific directorial challenge. When read consecutively, however, Reviews the chapters reveal an interesting overarching picture of Directpr work and an explanation of how “problems [can become allies” 2 in the theatre.

Prdpares her provocative first chapter Bogart suggests that directors and actors should pay particular attention to their own cultural memories, which she claims American theatre artists have been reluctant to build on, but which, she argues, would ultimately yield work that is more exciting and prepaees than that which attempts to mimick the European theatrical tradition.

To make her case, Bogart provides a brief historical overview of American theatre, highlighting the success of uniquely American perfonnance genres such as vaudeville.

A Director Prepares: Seven Essays on Art and Theater

While Bogart’s own directing techniques are unmistakably linked to practices and theories of international as well as American artists, and while her intercultural training efforts with Tadashi Suzuki are well documented throughout the text, she encourages American directors to utilize the rich and diverse array of cultural histories of the United States when choosing production material.


As she remarks, “[o ur cultural trove is full and bursting,” but creative use of this material requires “an interest in describing where we come from” In the second chapter, Bogart argues that interesting theatre demands a “violent” decisiveness on the part of the director, and her concept of preparrs in the theatre is similar to Artaud’s concept of cruelty. She believes that “[a rt is violent” bogarh that “[t o be decisive is violent” 45and she asserts that orepares directors must understand that “[t o be articulate in If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution that supports Shibboleth authentication or have your own login and password to Project MUSE, click ‘Authenticate’.

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