Notes on Directing 130 Lessons in Leadership from the Director's Chair


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Walker & Company


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080271708X

9780802717085

160 Pages

$15.00

Request Desk Copy Request Exam Copy
Winner of the Independent Book Publisher Award for Best Performing Arts Book of the Year
A ForeWord Magazine Best Performing Arts Book of the Year
A finalist for the Theatre Library Association's George Freedley Award for Outstanding Book on Theatre


Some years ago, the legendary director Frank Hauser quietly handed twelve pages of type-written notes to his then-student, Russell Reich.  Gathered over Hauser's long career and polished to a sharp edge, the notes documented the teachings and directions that he shared privately and professionally with theatrical and cinematic figures who called Hauser their director, mentor, or teacher.  Drawing on his long relationship and many discussions with Hauser, and on his own experience, Reich has expanded and enhanced his mentor's notes into this serious, yet accessible book. 

First self-published by Reich in 2003, Notes on Directing was immediately acclaimed as a timeless classic—and is now finally available in a paperback edition.

There is true genius on these pages. Just as Strunk and White have done for composition and grammar, Hauser and Reich offer unparalleled insights into the crafts of directing and acting. They include, as well, life lessons—about how to deal with people, anticipate problems, and handle challenging situations—that make Notes on Directing as valuable offstage as on.

The 130 “notes” address a wide range of topics, from understanding the script to casting, rules for rehearsal, how to talk to actors, how to get a laugh, and the key elements of staging. They reveal what got the young Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, and Richard Burton started on their careers, and offer rare quotes from artists as diverse as Anton Chekhov, Elia Kazan, and George Bernard Shaw. Plainly expressed, with explanatory commentary and five valuable appendices, this deceptively slim book has the impact of a privileged apprenticeship with a master director. For the student aspiring to a directing or acting career, the professional looking for new ideas, or the theater lover wanting insight into the creative process, reading Notes on Directing will be an invaluable experience.

REVIEWS

Praise for Notes on Directing

"Notes on Directing might just as well have been called 130 Secrets of Managing Extremely Difficult People . . . deserves to earn at least a million dollars if not a Nobel Peace Prize."—The Wall Street Journal

"Libraries and bookshops are full of tomes on stage and film direction, but none are quite like Notes on Directing . . . provocative . . . witty . . . refreshing.  The authors are erudite but never pretentious; their shared point of view is suprememly humane; their prose has a lucidity, even elegance, that is unknonw among contemporary American how-to books."—Theatremania

"An indispensable resource . . . a straightforward glimpse into the art of playmaking."—Backstage

"Sophisticated . . . full of surprising interests and quirky delights."—American Theatre magazine

"This book is so sensible, so straightforward, so complete, and so 'right.'"—Edward Albee

"Filled with smart, useful, thoughtful advice, born of years of service to an elulsive craft. How rare it is for two of our own to talk so shrewdly, candidly and succinctly about the process of making a production. I learned a lot from this remarkably straightforward book, and I debated with it. Is it invaluable."—Mark Lamos, Former Artistic Director, Hartford Stage

"Shamelessly dogmatic and practical, this book offers the serious, time-tested elements of craft that are readily applied yet too often neglected.  It's bold, audacious and refreshing.  Don't go to rehearsal without it."—Director Moisés Kaufman

"This book is full of wonderful insights, expressed in a simple and straightforward way.  It would benefit anyone interested in directing."—Director Jerry Zaks

"If you need a practical manual of the craft, this book should be by your side."—Sir Richard Eyre, Former Artistic Director, Britain’s Royal National Theatre

"Hauser's wise and pithy observations on acting and rehearsing don't age, reminding me how much I have learned from him."—Sir Ian McKellen

"This book is a gem—witty and full of insight.  It should be compulsory reading for every aspiring director."—Dame Judi Dench

"The fundamentals that no director or actor can afford to ignore."—Actor Rupert Graves

"The most sensible and practical work on directing on the bookshelf.  One cannot help but ask, 'Why didn't I think of that?' or 'Where was this book when I started my career?' This book has such wonderful insights it will benefit anyone interested in directing or play-going in general. Summing up: Essential."—Choice

"In the late 1980s, Hauser, former director of the Oxford Playhouse, Oxford, U.K., gave his original 'notes on directing' to then-apprentice Reich, now a writer and creative director. This volume collects Hauser's wisdom and experience and is supplemented by Reich's observations of Hauser at work. Sprinkled throughout are highly useful bits of advice from some of the greatest playwrights, directors, and actors of the 20th century, including Alec Guiness, Richard Burton, and Kevin Spacey. The result is a thoroughly enjoyable and thought-provoking look at the directing process 'intended to be used not simply as a 'how to,' but as a tool.' Read straight through, it roughly follows the rehearsal process, 'addressing a director's concerns in the general order they are likely to arise.' The notes are numbered, and some provide cross references, allowing the reader to pursue a theme from point to point within the process. An index provides references to specific concerns, and appendixes include exercises for actors and an annotated list of suggested readings. Equally insightful for directors and actors, whether experienced or novice, this slim volume is essential."—Laura A. Ewald, Murray State University Library, Kentucky, Library Journal (starred review)

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

Frank Hauser, now deceased, formed the Meadow Players at Oxford University in 1956 and served as Director of Productions at the Oxford Playhouse for seventeen years, during which many of his productions were seen in London and New York. In 1968 he received the award of Commander of the British Empire (CBE), one of the most prestigious honors granted by the queen. Russell Reich is a creative director and lives in New York. He served as visiting artist in residence at Harvard University and artistic associate at the Circle Repertory Company in New York, and was a member of the Circle Rep Directors


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


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  • Frank Hauser, now deceased, formed the Meadow Players at Oxford University in 1956 and served as Director of Productions at the Oxford Playhouse for seventeen years, during which many of his productions were seen in London and New York. In 1968 he received the award of Commander of the British Empire (CBE), one of the most prestigious honors granted by the queen.

    Russell Reich is a creative director and lives in New York. He served as visiting artist in residence at Harvard University and artistic associate at the Circle Repertory Company in New York, and was a member of the Circle Rep Directors Lab.

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