My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

ARC Review: What Playwrights Talk About When They Talk About Writing by Jeffrey Sweet

Please Note:  I received an advanced reader's copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From GoodReads):
The art and craft of playwriting as explored in candid conversations with some of the most important contemporary dramatists

Edward Albee, Lanford Wilson, Lynn Nottage, A. R. Gurney, and a host of other major creative voices of the theater discuss the art of playwriting, from inspiration to production, in a volume that marks the tenth anniversary of the Yale Drama Series and the David Charles Horn Foundation Prize for emerging playwrights.

Jeffrey Sweet, himself an award-winning dramatist, hosts a virtual roundtable of perspectives on how to tell stories onstage featuring extensive interviews with a gallery of gifted contemporary dramatists. In their own words, Arthur Kopit, Marsha Norman, Christopher Durang, David Hare, and many others offer insights into all aspects of the creative writing process as well as their personal views on the business, politics, and fraternity of professional theater. This essential work will give playwrights and playgoers alike a deeper and more profound appreciation of the art form they love.

I was a total theatre geek in high school.  I did every show in school, and saw many plays and musicals as well.  I even met my future husband in a show in college.  I continue to attend many shows now.  And yet, reading this book made me realize how much I need to learn.  This was a wonderful introduction to some of the most celebrated playwrights of our time.  Reading about their approach to writing was exhilarating and made me want to learn more about each playwright and their work.  

What I Liked:
No assumptions:
I appreciated that the author did not take for granted that the reader would know each playwright.  He took the time to give a proper introduction to each person and to list a few of their works.  I never felt stupid for not immediately recognizing each name.  After reviewing the plays, I found I did know some of their work (or had at least heard of them).

Interview Style:
After each introduction, the author does a very conversational type of interview with each playwright.  They discuss their creative processes, education, and how American theatre differs from British theatre. This made the book very accessible to read and get very involved in what each playwright had to say.

There was a good diversity of playwrights presented in this book.  Most of the older writers were white men, but before the 1960's plays by women, LGBTQ, and people of color were seldom produced.  That has changed and we get to hear from a good mix of writers in the second half of this book.  There is also a mix of playwrights who write different types of plays and musicals, and between self-taught and MFA graduates.

What I Was Mixed About:
Limited Audience:
I think this is an excellent book for people who love theatre or for students.  But I wonder if it would appeal to those who only go to the theater occasionally.  I think the audience for this book is a bit limited to those who already have an interest in the subject.  This book is not designed as a theatre appreciation book.  It is narrowed in scope to look at the writing process.  I think if you are interested in how one writes a play, you will find it fascinating.




Release Date:  February 16th, 2017

Genre:  Non-fiction

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  ARC E-Book

Recommendation:  Although limited in scope this is an insightful look at the writing process of playwrights.  

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2019 Reading Challenge
MsArdychan has read 10 books toward her goal of 120 books.


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