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"One of the few truly original experimental theater auteurs to emerge in New York during the past decade."—The New York Times "Maxwell has carved out a unique place for himself in experimental theater. . .paring down language and gesture so rigorously that his actors hardly seem to be acting."—Art in America Theater is the room where performance happens. Where people sit and "One of the few truly original experimental theater auteurs to emerge in New York during the past decade."—The New York Times "Maxwell has carved out a unique place for himself in experimental theater. . .paring down language and gesture so rigorously that his actors hardly seem to be acting."—Art in America Theater is the room where performance happens. Where people sit and watch other people. The moment to moment event that unfolds hinges on our imperfect-ness. . . . Theatre for Beginners is a manual for the actor based in the belief that the person is interesting before the performing happens, and the essence of good stage work is rooted in a constant state of beginning. Richard Maxwell, the downtown writer and director with a deadpan aesthetic and an ever-innovative body of work, has written a quasi-study guide to the art of making theater according to his "affecting affectless technique" (The New York Times). This illuminating volume will provide students and artists with a deeper understanding of Maxwell's work, aesthetic philosophy, and process for creating theater. Richard Maxwell is a playwright and director living in New York, where he is the artistic director of New York City Players. The recipient of an OBIE Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, his plays have been performed throughout the world.


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"One of the few truly original experimental theater auteurs to emerge in New York during the past decade."—The New York Times "Maxwell has carved out a unique place for himself in experimental theater. . .paring down language and gesture so rigorously that his actors hardly seem to be acting."—Art in America Theater is the room where performance happens. Where people sit and "One of the few truly original experimental theater auteurs to emerge in New York during the past decade."—The New York Times "Maxwell has carved out a unique place for himself in experimental theater. . .paring down language and gesture so rigorously that his actors hardly seem to be acting."—Art in America Theater is the room where performance happens. Where people sit and watch other people. The moment to moment event that unfolds hinges on our imperfect-ness. . . . Theatre for Beginners is a manual for the actor based in the belief that the person is interesting before the performing happens, and the essence of good stage work is rooted in a constant state of beginning. Richard Maxwell, the downtown writer and director with a deadpan aesthetic and an ever-innovative body of work, has written a quasi-study guide to the art of making theater according to his "affecting affectless technique" (The New York Times). This illuminating volume will provide students and artists with a deeper understanding of Maxwell's work, aesthetic philosophy, and process for creating theater. Richard Maxwell is a playwright and director living in New York, where he is the artistic director of New York City Players. The recipient of an OBIE Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, his plays have been performed throughout the world.

30 review for Theatre for Beginners

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rachel B

    I am not an actor, director or playwright, but after watching one of his performances in a Portland Hilton last weekend, I went to Maxwell's reading of this book and was very moved and excited by his words. As I told a friend, this isn't just about theater, it's about life and how to be a better human. Such a small, powerful book.... Brilliant. "Listening is the most generous act on stage." "If you are feeling lost or disconnected from the people you're on stage with, just like a musician would, I am not an actor, director or playwright, but after watching one of his performances in a Portland Hilton last weekend, I went to Maxwell's reading of this book and was very moved and excited by his words. As I told a friend, this isn't just about theater, it's about life and how to be a better human. Such a small, powerful book.... Brilliant. "Listening is the most generous act on stage." "If you are feeling lost or disconnected from the people you're on stage with, just like a musician would, listen your way back into time." "Keep interrogating what you do to ward off the automatic."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nick O'leary

    This is interesting and, I think, useful. It's quite short—I basically read it in one sitting. The book takes the form of advice to actors and it manages to find a balance between practical, straight forward suggestions ("learn your lines", "build a set") and an acknowledgement that theater making is not always something that we can understand and control. This is interesting and, I think, useful. It's quite short—I basically read it in one sitting. The book takes the form of advice to actors and it manages to find a balance between practical, straight forward suggestions ("learn your lines", "build a set") and an acknowledgement that theater making is not always something that we can understand and control.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elena

    Honestly blew my mind so many times. Helped me realize what a service theater is. And acting for that matter. I will definitely come back to this book time and time again for reminders. I did a lot of underlining.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alissa Hattman

    Maxwell gives sound advice for actors, writers, and all creatives. Inspiring and practical!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    “You, person, are interesting. You are molecules and spirit that cannot be repeated. Remember this...”

  6. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    Wonderful in its simplicity. Edit: 1/5/19. Two key pieces I took away from this re-read. 1) as a director, you can’t take away from the responsibility of the actors. You can’t do it for them or tell them what you want. It’s what they want. Everyone needs to be connecting to their reason for being there. 2) you can’t reclaim past successes and that’s okay. “What stays in place are the reasons behind what you do...life isn’t in The reliving, but in the returning back to square one to start again. W Wonderful in its simplicity. Edit: 1/5/19. Two key pieces I took away from this re-read. 1) as a director, you can’t take away from the responsibility of the actors. You can’t do it for them or tell them what you want. It’s what they want. Everyone needs to be connecting to their reason for being there. 2) you can’t reclaim past successes and that’s okay. “What stays in place are the reasons behind what you do...life isn’t in The reliving, but in the returning back to square one to start again. What you carry forward is being your best, caring about other people, accepting who you are, and allowing yourself to be fulfilled.” That willingness to start over, again and again, is terrifying and amazing.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    792.028 M4658 2015

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jalen Lyle-Holmes

    Stimulating and very concise. A different approach to theatre than I'm used to. Made me feel inspired to direct. Stimulating and very concise. A different approach to theatre than I'm used to. Made me feel inspired to direct.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Josh Jones

  10. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Healey

  12. 4 out of 5

    Done

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brendan Howlett

  14. 4 out of 5

    Willie Filkowski

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alessia

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mica

  17. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stellalight

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dani Wieder

  20. 5 out of 5

    Adelaide Matthew Dicken

  21. 5 out of 5

    Vernon Campbell

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alex Hare

  23. 5 out of 5

    Djuna Couveuze

  24. 4 out of 5

    Y

  25. 4 out of 5

    Emma Beaver

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Matos

  27. 5 out of 5

    Misa Soehl

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

  29. 5 out of 5

    John

  30. 5 out of 5

    Zoe Erwin-Longstaff

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