Author: Lewis, Roger
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Year Published: 1989
Condition Rating: Slight wear, may have creased spine, folded pages, good-condition ownership stickers
Summary: An actor's a guy,' vouched Marlon Brando, 'who if you ain't talking about him, ain't listening.' "Stage People" talks about actors by talking to them, and this is a jaunty and highly provocative book about the black magic of performance. Roger Lewis examines the careers of Alec McCowen (an adept at tattered urbanity), Robert Stephens (Hamlet in Baker Street), Ian Richardson (who plays for the author a vinegary Garrick Club grandee), Derek Jacobi (for whom acting tidies up the crudities of life), Judi Dench (many of her stage people reincarnating Molly Bloom), Anthony Hopkins (a titanesque Celt living out the career Richard Burton mislaid), Antony Sher (whose inspired maladjustments of reality make for a theatre of electrified cartoonery) and Simon Callow (an actor, writer and director in the high-heeled mode of Cocteau). Each long and brand new curvilinear profile essay is built from exclusive interviews, sharp-eyed reportage, cultural history and opinionated digression. Lewis wants to know the ins-and-outs of the actor's craft. What is it like, a life where you are applauded for being more than one person? How do they make it a success? How is it possible? What is their secret? Answers to questions about acting, which are also questions about charlatanism and fraud, edge into the issue of personality and the games we all play when trying to behave: all of us people a stage (W.H. Auden said we may be divided into 'the sane who know they are acting and the mad who do not') and Lewis concludes that the theatre, far from being a refuge for flimsy and ultimately pathetic fantasy, is in fact an arena for purveying the naked truth; a machine for exploring psychology's enchanting slipperiness and the concept of our most powerful, ecstatic (and enigmatic) faculty: that of the imagination.
In Store Location: Bookcase 39 - Performing Arts NF 1,