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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, and very precise about his working methods; he's also intelligent about music, literary material and acting styles. (It soon becomes obvious from his comments how much design and acting problems are linked.) He seems to be a voracious researcher and documenter, making exhaustive period studies of all aspects of his stage projects: being his own dramaturg, in other words. Credit is due to Friedman, Director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis which sponsored a 1983 exhibit of Hockney's stage design on which this book is based, for his careful responsiveness to his subject and his work. 115 It has always been one of the misfortunes of the American theatre that artists have not been welcomed onto its major stages. Elsewhere, in Spain, Miro designed for a puppet theatre in his last years, and in Belgium, only a few years ago, the surrealist Paul Delvaux was designing a production for director Henri Ronse. Perhaps Hockney's recent successes might suggest to others working in the theatre new possibilities of collaboration. That would indeed bring conventional theatre design into a new space age. Bonnie Marranca Dislecta: Miscellaneous Writings and a Dramatic Fragment Samuel Beckett Edited by Ruby Cohn Grove Press, 178 pp.; $5.95 (paper); $17.50 (cloth) Disiecta contains short essays in criticism and aesthetics, and fragments of prose and drama, not widely published before now. The pieces appear in their original English, French or German, and span about thirty years of Beckett's writing. Most of them were written before the mid-1950s, when he finally began to be able to support himself with his writing. When Beckett was 22, James Joyce invited him to analyze influences on his Work in Progress. The result, "Dante...Bruno.Vico..Joyce," the first essay in the book, is an erudite and entertaining account of Vico's theories of the orgin of language and abstraction, and the parallels in the creation of a new language from dialects by Dante and Joyce. First published in 1929, it includes ideas of that time that have become a part of modern cultural heritage. Beckett writes about Joyce: Here form is content, content is form. You complain that...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1537-9477
Print ISSN
1520-281X
Pages
pp. 115-116
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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