The Craft of Comedy

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Routledge, Feb 15, 2013 - Performing Arts - 176 pages
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"a work on the art and craft of comedy as important in its own way as works by Stanislavski and Chekhov" – Oxford Theatre Companion

In 1939, a young, inexperienced actor wrote to a famous actress of his acquaintance, asking for advice on playing comedy. She responded enthusiastically, and they corresponded variously over the next year. The Craft of Comedy, a record of these exchanges, soon emerged as one of the few classic texts in the field of comedy acting.

This major new edition takes a brilliant book and makes it better. Editor Robert Barton has devised extensive supplementary material, including:

  • An introduction to the correspondents, the culture of the time, and the evolution of their book;
  • Summaries, definitions, and exercises and practice scenes for readers wishing to explore Athene Seyler’s invaluable advice;
  • Photographs, additional essays by Seyler, and a guide to easily accessed video clips of her performing.

Seyler’s lucid guidance, and Barton’s scrupulous editorship, ensure this legendary work’s rightful status is restored: as one of the great practical guides to the craft of comedy, and an essential resource for actors and students of acting.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 Distorted truth
23
2 Tightrope walking
31
3 Just do it
43
4 Trust and confidence
57
5 Rhythm
69
6 Comedy of manners
87
7 Delicate decadence
97
8 The acting profession
113
Appendices
121
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Stephan Haggard is professor of international relations at the University of California, San Diego.

Robert Barton is Professor Emeritus of Acting at the University of Oregon. He has directed more than half of Shakespeare's plays and performed in most of them, including playing the title role in a PBS production of HAMLET. A prolific author, Dr. Barton has published numerous scholarly articles on acting and seven books, including VOICE: ONSTAGE AND OFF (with Rocco Dal Vera), THEATRE IN YOUR LIFE and LIFE THEMES (both with Annie McGregor), and ACTING REFRAMES. His STYLE FOR ACTORS received the Theatre Association's Best Book Award. In addition, he served as editor and adaptor of the newly revised edition of the classic text THE CRAFT OF COMEDY. The American College Theatre Festival honored Dr. Barton as Outstanding Acting Coach. He received his Ph.D. from Bowling Green State University.

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