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Book Reviews 593 Readers will be unable to decide whether the author favors the naturalism of David Storey's The Changing Room, the highly metaphorical and intellectually challenging Jumpers ofTom Stoppard. Beckett's static and monologue-filled Footfalls, or Edward Bond's history plays. Cave's innate fairness includes receptivity not only to various kinds of plays, but to various social strata. He understands the lower-middle class milieu of Trevor Griffiths' The Party as well as he understands the upper-class inteIligenstia of Griffiths' Sam Sam. Also, the author's appreciation and tolerance extend themselves to actors. In densely-constructed paragraphs Cave discusses actors' performances during the fifteen years of his survey. but he also compares those perfonnances with past performances of Gielgud, Richardson, Whitelaw, and others. Cave is obviously in love with the actors' art; his comments on John Gielgud and Laurence Olivier are brilliant summaries. Cave's own critical and moral values are implicit. In analyzing Storey's Home, for example (set in a mental asylum), Cave recognizes to the full Storey's attempt to convey the sense of genuine communication and communion the two principal characters achieve against tremendous odds. The same is true of virtually all the plays the author treats: Trevor Griffiths' Occupations, where Cave perfectly understands the carefullydisguised moral bankruptcy of the principal character, and the playwright's condemnation of that bankruptcy; Bond's The Woman (a play about Hecuba's defeat and subsequent victory through courage), where Cave shows his appreciation of the real meaning of tragedy and of the true origins of comedy. One fault of organization of New British Drama lies in the individual chapter headings. They are usually misleading. In Chapter Two ("New Forms of Comedy: Ayckboum and Stoppard"), Cave discusses Joe Orton, Alan Bennett, Peter Nichols and Michael Frayn, and then, after ten pages ofconcentrated prose, begins his discussion of Alan Acykboum! The same thing occurs in the third chapter. And even though Cave analyzes many plays in this book, his bibliography contains only thirty items. These seem small objections. Essentially Cave's book is a reference work full of valuable insights and his critical approach is admirable. EUGENE KRAFT. MONTGOMERY COLLEGE, MARYLAND ODETTE ASLAN. Roger BUn and Twentieth Century Playwrights. Trans. by Ruby Cohn. London: Cambridge University Press 1988. Pp. xiii, 178, illustrated. $47.50. Odette AsIan's study of the French actor and theatrical director, Roger Blin, for Cambridge University Press's "Directors in Perspective" series is something of an anomaly, a record of an endangered - rather now an extinct - species, the unassuming theatrical director. Roger Blin's most distinctive directorial style was his lack of a distinctive directorial style - which is not to say that he was himself without style, but 594 Book Reviews rather that he had no style apart from that of the author he was serving. His chief characteristic was his own invisibility. his willingness to submerge himself totally within or disappear behind the text, like the actor he always was. In the age of auteur theatrical directors, Blin played second fiddle even to unknown authors. Odette AsIan had than a most reluctant and fugitive subject, one who wanted to pass through life leaving no trace. Fortunately, he failed. AsIan'5 first task then is to convince the reader that she has a subject - that something of Roger Blin exists in his productions, that that element can be isolated and that it is of sufficient magnitude to deserve an entire volume devoted to it. Blin has, of course, directed work by a number of major contemporary and a few minor playwrights, the likes of Adamov, Bauer, Bernhard, Billetdoux, Faye, Frisch, Fugard, Manet, Semprun Maura and Mrozek. The bulk of the book, however, is - as it should be - devoted to AsIan's cOfIlIDents on the five plays which save 8Iin from oblivion, without which Blin would barely have been a footnote in the history of modem theater, five world premieres, all now part of the standard repertory of the modem, anti-realistic theatre: Samuel Beckett's Waiting/or Godat (1953), Endgame (1957) and Happy Days (1963), and Jean Genet's The Blacks (1959) and The Screens (1966), The problem with the volume, however...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5286
Print ISSN
0026-7694
Pages
pp. 593-596
Launched on MUSE
2013-07-03
Open Access
N
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