Book Reading/Signing on Thursday Feb. 16
Toad Hall Bookstore
47 Main St., Rockport, MA 978-546-7323
We are thrilled that Jeff Zinn, Equity actor and Award-winning director, will read from his memoir, "The Existential Actor: Life and Death, On Stage and Off" on February 16 at Toad Hall. After reading he will take your questions.
Many of you know Zinn as the new managing director of the Gloucester Stage Company. Both actor and director, he is well suited to share insights into some of the issues facing quality theater today. Actors, directors, playwrights and theatergoers -- you are invited to take part in this timely conversation. Refreshments will be served.
"This is a book for the thinking actor, and the finest actors I've known are just that. The best actors bring it all together body, heart, spirit, and mind. This book is for the actor who thinks about craft and influence, who thinks about the relationship of performance to living, who thinks about doing and what that doing means. Acting is a metaphor and it's a mirror, and, so, a theory of acting, if true, shows us to ourselves. Jeff Zinn knows this. He knows it as an actor, director, teacher, and thinker. His theory of everything is simple and revelatory." (from the foreword by Todd London) ... See MoreSee Less
from TheatreJones.com - Features and Interviews
February 6, 2017
Playwrights and Power: The Making of the Dramatists Guild
by Thomas J. Walsh
Smith & Kraus Publishers, 2016
In Thomas J. Walsh’s brisk and engaging study, Playwrights and Power: The Making of the Dramatists Guild we learn that the drama is not exclusive to the stage, and the relationship between the written word and performance is often complicated, contentious, and ever evolving. The book concerns itself primarily with the history of the Dramatists Guild of America; however, some of Walsh’s most interesting writing, itself a prelude to his overarching subject, are his treatment of the early days of copyrights in Elizabethan England, and especially his insightful treatment of the slippery subject of authorship, and the tension between stage and screen and its ramifications on the writer.
Walsh, a Professor of Theatre History at Texas Christian University, and founding Artistic Director of the critically acclaimed Trinity Shakespeare Festival, is able to draw upon his research and scholarship skills and meld them with his extensive experience as a director to provide an evenhanded, yet practical, account of the playwright’s plight throughout history.
Playwrights and Power fills a necessary gap in “the conditions, dynamics, and history of playwriting in the United States,” principally in regards to the founding of the Dramatists Guild. Walsh’s work provides a detailed study of that organization, including its major players, the battles within the industry, its metamorphoses, and its crucial function to protect the permanent rights of its members.
The book is indispensable for those with professional and personal interest in playwriting in America, and for readers keen on pondering the meaning of authorship embodied in academia (“death of the author”), Hollywood (director as author, and studio as owner), and particularly in the theater where collaboration and the director’s vision can make authorship murky. Powerful stuff indeed.
— M. Lance Lusk ... See MoreSee Less
FROM BABBLING GOSSIP OF THE AIR
Posted on January 8, 2017 by montgomery
A Gleefully Dramatic History
If you’re a playwright, or any other artist/entrepreneur with a sense of authorship over the work that you create, you need to hurry up and get a copy of Playwrights and Power, Thomas J. Walsh’s brilliant and breezy new survey of the formation and evolution of the Dramatists Guild.
(Full disclosure: I have been directed and employed by TJ at the Trinity Shakespeare Festival so was already a big fan.)
In 215 pages, Walsh paints a remarkably clear and compelling landscape of the struggle around copyright, ownership, and authorship for storytellers from Shakespeare to Sondheim. Some ideas now regarded as basic rights and principles — royalties, subsidiary rights, sole authority over revisions to one’s own work — were seized from the jaws of mammoth producing conglomerates like “The Syndicate” less than a hundred years ago. Many of the names are familiar, many more had been left on discarded pages in the writer’s room of our Millennial minds, but the scope of the fight required by all of the flesh and blood behind those names is astonishing. As both our industry and our country embark upon a period of volatile restructuring it is more important than ever that we know exactly what we need to protect and how hard it was to come by the first time around.
Walsh inspires as much joy as he does appreciation, though: peaking behind the curtain of Shaw’s self-representation is a delight (he hated agents and did all of his own legal writing, so Bill Murray is just following a great Shavian tradition); when David Belasco is the last Producer to hold out on the first Minimum Basic Agreement, his friend George Middleton is convinced by Belasco’s manager to write a personal letter of invitation which results in a reply so immediate, effusive, and vulnerable that it simultaneously ignited a belly laugh and brought tears to my eyes; and a detailed exploration of the drastically different Elizabethan ideas of authorship and copyright is a delicious appetizer for the battles to come.
A grounded and frequently revisited historical perspective is essential for progress, and there is no better resource for American dramatic writers to reboot their perspective on their tradition than Playwrights and Power. I hope it will inspire more volumes on its subjects as well as a renewed vigor and appreciation by today’s playwrights for the broad shoulders upon which we stand. ... See MoreSee Less