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The Enjoyment of Theatre

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This is the 8th edition with a publication date of 1/17/2010.
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Updated in a new 8th edition, this book offers a balance of history and performance that brings theatre to life for readers by showing the relationship and relevance of the performing arts to their everyday lives. This book covers the full span of theatre's 2,500-year history as well as performance/production topics such as playwriting, acting, directing, and the theatre industry. This updated edition is presented in full-color for the first time.

Table of Contents



PART I: Locating Theatre, Experiencing Plays: Theory and Criticism


Chapter 1: Theatre: Performance and Art

Why Theatre

Theatre as Performance  

Theatre as Art  

Theatre as Performing Art  

Key Terms  


Chapter 2: Theatre: The Performing Audience: Three Roles

Window on the World

Theatre as Art: The Role of the Audience

Theatre as Cultural Expression: The Role of the Audience

Theatre as Business: The Role of the Audience  

Key Terms  


Chapter 3: How to Read a Play

Seeing versus Reading

Preliminary Work  

Play Analysis Using the Parts of the Play  

Organizing a Response  

Key Terms  


Chapter 4: How to See a Play 

Experiencing the Performance

Preliminary Work  

Performance Analysis  

Organizing a Response  

Key Terms  


Chapter 5: Mediating the Art and Business of Theatre 

Mediators of Theatre Art

Mediators of Theatre Business

Key Terms


PART II: Today’s Theatre and Its Makers: Theatre Practice


Chapter 6:  Making Theatre Today: The Context

Theatre Spaces  

Theatrical Venues in the United States

Amateur Theatre

Theatre Funding

Key Terms  


Chapter 7: Playwrights 

The Nature of Playwrights and Playwriting  

Sources of Plays and Playwrights

Playwrights and their Culture

The Playwright’s Career

Training Playwrights   

From Page to Stage: Professional Issues  

What Is Good Playwriting?  

Key Terms  


Chapter 8: Actors 

The Nature of Acting  

Training Actors  

Audition, Rehearsal, and Performance    

What Is Good Acting?  

Key Terms  


Chapter 9: Directors 

The Nature of Directing  

The Director at Work  

Training Directors  

What Is Good Directing?  

Key Terms  


Chapter 10: Designers and Technicians 

The Nature of Design  

Designers at Work  

Training Designers 

What Is Good Design?  

Key Terms  


PART III: Theatre of Other Times and Places: Theatre History


Part IIIa: Facade Stages (534 B.C.E. - c.550 C.E.)


Chapter 11: The Theatre of Greece


Traits of Greek Theatre  

Plays and Playwrights  

Theatre Buildings and Practices  

The End of Athens’ Golden Age  

Key Terms  


Chapter 12: The Theatre of Rome


Roman Festivals and Theatre 

Theatre Buildings, Scenery, Costumes, and Masks 


The Empire and the End of Roman Drama 

The Breakup of the Empire 

The Eastern (Byzantine) Empire and Theatre

Key Terms  


Part IIIb: Emblem, Environment, and Simultaneity (c. 950 - c. 1650)

Chapter 13: Theatre in the Middle Ages


Early Medieval Drama and Theatre 

Medieval Culture and Theatre, c.1200—c. 1550  

The End of Medieval Religious Theatre: The Transformation of Medieval Secular Theatre 

Key Terms 


Chapter 14: The Golden Ages of England and Spain 


The Renaissance in the North: The Age of Shakespeare 

The Closing of English Theatres 

The Spanish Golden Age  

Theatres in the East  

Key Terms


Part IIIc: Illusionism (c. 1550 - 1960)

Chapter 15: The Italian Renaissance

Mainstream Theatre

An Alternative Theatre: Commedia dell’Arte

Ital: Eclipse

Key Terms


Chapter 16: The Triumph and Decline of Neoclassicism

French Theatre

English Restoration Theatre and Beyond (1660–c. 1750)  

English Theatre in America

Key Terms 


Chapter 17: Successful Failure: Theatre and Reform, 1750 — the 1950s


Three Countries, Two Experiences

First Wave: Romanticism, 1750—1850 

Second Wave: Realism, 1850—1950  

Realism and Naturalism: Three Important Leaders 

Third Wave: Avant-Gardism, 1890—1950  

Avant-Garde Theatres and Movements  

Key Terms  


Chapter 18: The Rise and Triumph of Commercialism: 1750 - 1950s 


Commercial Theatre

Drama in the Commercial Theatre  

Theatres and Production Practices 

The Decline of Commercial Theatre  

Responses to Commercial Theatre

Key Terms 


Chapter 19: Eclectic Theatre, c. 1950-c.2000 


Avant-garde Theatre

The Influence of the Avant-garde

Professional Theatre

The decline and Cultural Displacement of Theatre

Key Terms


Chapter 20: U.S. Theatre, 2000-2010


Theatrical Changes

A Faded Avant-garde

Commercial and Not-for-Profit Theatres

Theatre Trends in the New Millennium

Key Terms 


Chapter 21: Global Theatre 


The East

The Islamic World


Key Terms 




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