Paper $33.00 ISBN: 9780859897426 Published January 2000 For sale in North and South America only
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9780859896719 Published January 2000 For sale in North and South America only

On Actors and Acting

Peter Thomson

On Actors and Acting

Peter Thomson

Distributed for University of Exeter Press

224 pages | 13 illustrations | 9-3/10 x 6 | © 2000
Paper $33.00 ISBN: 9780859897426 Published January 2000 For sale in North and South America only
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9780859896719 Published January 2000 For sale in North and South America only
This is a book for theatre-lovers, written for anyone who shares the author's curiosity about the art of acting and about theatre past and present.
The first section centres on Elizabethan theatre practice, the second highlights themes, episodes and contemporary taste in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in England, and the third focuses on twentieth-century performances of Shakespeare at Stratford in the 1970s and in the New Globe as the new century begins.
The extensive cast of actors discussed includes Richard Tarlton, Will Kemp, David Garrick, Samuel Foote, Richard and Mary Ann Yates, Thomas Weston, John Kemble, Edmund Kean, Frederick Robson, Henry Irving, Ian Richardson and Ben Kingsley.

Part One: Actors and Acting in the Early Modern Theatre

The Elizabethan Actor: a matter of temperament

Making an Entrance: Chaucer to Tarlton

The Missing Jig

Three Elizabethan Actors

A Note on Elizabethan Rehearsal

Part Two: Actors and Acting in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

Bigamy and Theatre

David Garrick: alive in every muscle

Summer Company: Drury Lane in 1761

Edmund Kean versus John Philip Kemble

Frederick Robson: a downright good actor

Irving and the Lyceum: volcano and cathedral

Part Three: Shakespeare in the Twentieth Century

Shakespeare at Stratford: 1970–1975

The New Globe: monument or portent?
Review Quotes
Theatre Research International

“When Peter Thompson was writing reviews of Stratford productions for Shakespeare Survey in the 1970s, he saw his job as being “to reproduce in words what it was like to be there, but without ducking away from a responsibility to enter into contemporary debate”. This is the spirit in which On Actors and Acting is written, and it is deeply pleasurable . . . interspersed with amplifications, second thoughts, wry self-criticisms and addenda from an author to whom the issues and arguments of the past still matter today . . . Historical practices and personages repeatedly are illuminated by reference to the contemporary, and many of Thompson’s throw-away remarks—such his comparison between Irving and David Warner—are worth their weight in gold.” –Theatre Research International

Speech and Drama

“Whilst Thompson disclaims the talent of Hazlitt, his readers, relishing his pithy insights, his biting wit, and admiring his crispness of phrase, will decide for themselves . . . [The book] will be enjoyed by anyone who cares deeply, with both head and heart, about not only teaching of drama but the future of theatre.” –Speech and Drama


“Thompson’s affection for actors, advocacy for the primacy of the actor’s role in the theatrical process, and strong belief in the significant art of the actor permeate this eclectic, learned, and entertaining collection of essays . . . Thompson’s style is scholarly yet somewhat quirky and anecdotal, and very accessible . . . Well documented and nicely illustrated, Thompson’s book provides a capstone to his productive writing and scholarly career.” –Choice

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