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Berkeley Rep's reading list

posted by Amy Potozkin on Thu, Jun 30, 2011
in General theatre talk

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A few weeks ago I found myself going through all my books deciding which were ready to be taken down to Half Price Books (right here at the corner of Addison and Shattuck) and which were treasures worth keeping. I came across a few books that I consider to be bibles of mine. Books that I can still remember lines or passages from and that inspired my core values as a theatre artist. I was curious as to what books inspired our staff in their early (or late) days as theatre folk. I asked my colleagues here at Berkeley Rep to contribute the titles of the books they read for a list I was making. Some were quick to respond enthusiastically while others claimed they found books about theatre pretentious. With continued prodding I asked if perhaps there was a different type of book that inspired them in their creative lives, or even one  moment of creative insight that would leave said book a treasure for them.  Again some contributed and some pushed back. “No!” they cried, “no books! No books about theatre!!” Okay, I said. Perhaps a play or a videotape or …something?  Anything? Hence the following list from a number of staff members, fellows, and one former intern. 

The Empty Space by Peter Brook

Oppressed Theatre of the Oppressed by Augusto Boal

A Challenge for the Actor by Uta Hagen

Viewpoints by Anne Bogart  (From '95 Actors Theatre of Louisville 10th Annual Classics in Context Festival)

At Work With Grotowski on Physical Actions by Thomas Richards (1993)

Towards a Poor Theatre by Grotowski

On the Art of No Drama: The Major Treatises of Zeami  (1984)

No drama Being an Actor by Simon Callow (1986)

Brecht On Theatre: The Development of an Aesthetic (1977)

Dramatic Theory and Criticism: Greeks to Grotowski, edited by Bernard Dukore (1974)

Importance Of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

Clean House by Sarah Ruhl

Impro by Keith Johnstone

Ghostlight – Frank Rich’s autobiography

Theatre and its Double by Antonin Artaud

Feminism and Theatre by Sue Ellen Case

Playing Shakespeare by John Barton

The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

Letters to a Young Poet by Rilke

Audition Audition by Michael Shurtleff

Aristotle’s Poetics

Art Objects by Jeanne Winterson

The Actor and the Target by Declan Donnellan

Acting: The First Six Lessons by Richard Boleslavsky

The Fervent Years by Harold Clurman

Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams by Lyle Leverich 

An Actor Prepares by Stanislavski

Building a Character by Stanislavski

Creating a Role by Stanislavski

Respect for Acting by Uta Hagen

A Challenge for the Actor by Uta Hagen

The Theatre of the Absurd by Martin Esslin

The Lighting Art by Richard Palmer

Hamlet by Shakespeare

Three Uses of the Knife by David Mamet

Suzan-Lori Parks intro to The America Play

Any of Stella Adler's books

Playing Shakespeare by John Barton

Free for All about Joe Papp and the Public by Kenneth Turan and Joseph Papp

Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch

Piece by Piece by Tori Amos (the Saraswati chapter where she explains in detail her songwriting process)

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

If You Want to Write: a Book About Art, Independence and Spirit by Brenda Ueland, first published in 1938

Stage Fright: Health and Safety in the Theater  by Monona Rossol

The Health & Safety Guide for Film, TV & Theater by Monona Rossol

The Artist's Complete Health and Safety Guide by Monona Rossol

Not a book, a Ted talk:

--Thanks to all who contributed. I plan to begin my summer reading ASAP. Got a book suggestion of your own? Leave us a comment! 




Nice list - thanks! I love Acting Power - an introduction to acting, by Robert Cohen. Got it in theatre school.

Deb Pickman | Thu, Jun 30, 2011

Ah, this is great, Amy. Thanks for sharing. Reading this reminds me of so many books I could have included with my own response to your initial email!

Pauline Luppert | Fri, Jul 1, 2011

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