Free for All: Joe Papp, The Public, and the Greatest Theater Story Ever Told

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Free for All is an irresistible behind-the-scenes look at one of America’s most beloved and important cultural institutions.

Under the inspired leadership of founder Joseph Papp, the Public Theater and the New York Shakespeare Festival brought revolutionary performances to the public for decades. This compulsively readable history of those years—much of it told in Papp’s own words—is fascinating, ranging from a dramatic early showdown with Robert Moses over keeping Shakespeare in the Park free to the launching of such landmark productions as Hair and A Chorus Line. To bring the story to life, film critic Kenneth Turan interviewed some 160 luminaries—including George C. Scott, Meryl Streep, Mike Nichols, Kevin Kline, James Earl Jones, David Rabe, Jerry Stiller, Tommy Lee Jones, and Wallace Shawn—and masterfully weaves their voices into a dizzyingly rich tale of creativity, conflict, and achievement.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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About the author

Kenneth Turan has been a film critic for the Los Angeles Times since 1991 and the director of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes since 1993. He teaches nonfiction writing and film criticism at the University of Southern California and provides regular reviews for Morning Edition on National Public Radio.
 
Joseph Papp (1921–1991) was an American theatrical producer and director. Papp founded the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1954 with the aim of making Shakespeare’s works accessible to the public.




From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Anchor
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Published on
Nov 3, 2009
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Pages
648
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ISBN
9780385532044
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Entertainment & Performing Arts
History / United States / 21st Century
Performing Arts / Theater / History & Criticism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Almost every day of the year a film festival takes place somewhere in the world--from sub-Saharan Africa to the Land of the Midnight Sun. Sundance to Sarajevo is a tour of the world's film festivals by an insider whose familiarity with the personalities, places, and culture surrounding the cinema makes him uniquely suited to his role. Kenneth Turan, film critic for the Los Angeles Times, writes about the most unusual as well as the most important film festivals, and the cities in which they occur, with an eye toward the larger picture. His lively narrative emphasizes the cultural, political, and sociological aspects of each event as well as the human stories that influence the various and telling ways the film world and the real world intersect.

Of the festivals profiled in detail, Cannes and Sundance are obvious choices as the biggest, brashest, and most influential of the bunch. The others were selected for their ability to open a window onto a wider, more diverse world and cinema's place in it. Sometimes, as with Sarajevo and Havana, film is a vehicle for understanding the international political community's most vexing dilemmas. Sometimes, as with Burkina Faso's FESPACO and Pordenone's Giornate del Cinema Muto, it's a chance to examine the very nature of the cinematic experience. But always the stories in this book show us that film means more and touches deeper chords than anyone might have expected. No other book explores so many different festivals in such detail or provides a context beyond the merely cinematic.
In her long-awaited book, the legendary acting teacher Stella Adler gives us her extraordinary insights into the work of Henrik Ibsen ("The creation of the modern theater took a genius like Ibsen. . .Miller and Odets, Inge and O'Neill, Williams and Shaw, swallowed the whole of him"), August Strindberg ("He understood and predicted the forces that would break in our lives"), and Anton Chekhov ("Chekhov doesn't want a play, he wants what happens in life. In life, people don't usually kill each other. They talk").

Through the plays of these masters, Adler discusses the arts of playwriting and script interpretation ("There are two aspects of the theater. One belongs to the author and the other to the actor. The actor thinks it all belongs to the author. . .The curtain goes up and all he knows are the lines. . .It is not enough. . .Script interpretation is your profession").

She looks into aspects of society and class, and into our cultural past, as well as the evolution of the
modern spirit ("The actor learns from Ibsen what is modern in the modern theater. There are no villains, no heroes. Ibsen understands, more than anything, there is more than one truth").

Stella Adler--daughter of Jacob Adler, who was universally acknowledged to be the greatest actor
of the Yiddish theater, and herself a disciple of Stanislavsky--examines the role of the actor and brings to life the plays from which all modern theater derives: Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, The Master Builder, An Enemy of the People, and A Doll's House; Strindberg's Miss Julie and The Father; Chekhov's The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, The Cherry Orchard, and Three Sisters ("Masha is the sister who is the mystery. You cannot reach her. You cannot reach the artist. There is no logical way. Keep her in a special pocket of feelings that are complex and different").

Adler discusses the ideas behind these plays and explores the world of the playwrights and the
history--both familial and cultural--that informed their work. She illumines not only the dramatic essence of each play but its subtext as well, continually asking questions that deepen one's understanding of the work and of the human spirit.

Adler's book, brilliantly edited by Barry Paris, puts her famous lectures into print for the first time.


From the Hardcover edition.
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