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earlier studies on which to base his own, he has, remarkably thoroughly, established a preliminary framework from which to view, to argue against, to go beyond, his understanding of phenomenology, audience reception, theatrical event, selfhood. Wilshire's study, like Barash's recent The Anti-Theatrical Prejudice, is a major book in theatre studies, and perhaps if we are lucky it will serve as an inspiration to others to attempt work in this difficult, lonely field of research and reflection. Bonnie Marranca New German Dramatists Denis Calandra Grove Press, 172 pp.; $9.95 (paper) Calandra's introduction to a handful of contemporary German playwrights -two Austrians (Peter Handke and Thomas Bernhard), two East Germans (Heiner MUller and Thomas Brasch), and three West Germans (Franz Xaver Kroetz, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Botho Strauss)-provides the appetizers but not the meal. Constructed mainly as a pastiche of plot description, excerpts from magazine interviews and Marxist critique, New German Dramatists is more accurately an admirable preface to the work of Handke and Kroetz than a comprehensive survey of modern Teutonic playwrights. (The chapters on the two playwrights alone comprise more than two-thirds of the book.) The few pages devoted to the East Germans MOller and Brasch (who emigrated to West Germany in 1976) are particularly disappointing because Calandra neglects the obvious-namely, the cultural/political ramifications of writing for the theatre in East Germany. Must East German theatre depend solely upon State subsidies? How heavily are the texts censored? Why did Brasch emigrate? Despite all the unanswered questions, the chapters on Kroetz do uncover the playwright's increasing dissatisfaction with theatre as a vehicle for popularizing his political ideas. Kroetz's (and Fassbinder's) methodology for sneaking revolutionary ideas past the West German censors are also revealed. Aligning his sympathies with those playwrights who use the theatre as a forum for their socialist political gambits, Calandra takes Thomas Bernhard to task for his "misanthropy" and "nihilism"-which might not be quite fair as aesthetic criticism. Helpfully, Calandra unravels some knots of difficulty in understanding Handke's texts, elucidating firsthand discoveries he made while directing the plays. With so little information available on contemporary German theatre, 114 Calandra's book serves an important purpose. One wishes that it did so a bit more comprehensively. Adam Parfrey Hockney Paints the Stage Martin Friedman Abbeville Press/Walker Art Center; 228 pp.; $45 (cloth) This beautiful book includes more than 200 illustrations, including 150 in color, detailing David Hockney's work for the stage. What makes it so valuable a document is the commentary by the artist, and those who collaborated with him in the theatre (namely, John Cox at Glyndebourne and John Dexter at the Metropolitan Opera). After a highly informative introduction , "Painting into Theater," in which Martin Friedman links interests and motifs in the artist's painting since the 60s to his stage design, and an appreciation of his work by Stephen Spender, the book moves into sections in which the development of separate operatic productions- The Magic Flute, works by Stravinsky, Satie, Ravel, and Poulenc-comes into focus. For example, in the chapter on the French triple bill for the Met, which included Parade, Les Mamelles de Tiresias and L'Enfant et les Sortileges, John Dexter gives his directorial views of its evolution and Hockney explains his own, with special attention to the original Picasso version of Parade as quotation. The same chapter set-up follows with commentary on The Magic Flute, and several Stravinsky works. In each case, what is emphasized is how the production was conceived, how the design was executed , why certain theatrical choices were made. In the section on The Rake's Progress, happily in this Fall's repertory at the City Opera, Hockney demonstrates his indebtedness to Hogarth's crosshatched engravings which he clearly used as his design concept for the Stravinsky opera. The effect is a highly-patterned, strong visual signature that, in retrospect, seems to have inspired Peter Greenaway's recent film of the same period, The Draughtsman's Contract. In any case, it was a darkly pictorial vision of the Auden/Kallman libretto that enhanced Stravinsky's Mozartian score. Throughout the book Hockney is direct, engaging...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1537-9477
Print ISSN
1520-281X
Pages
pp. 114-115
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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