Theater for Beginners

Theatre Communications Group
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"One of the strongest directors out there—an artist committed to making us see the world for what it is." — New Yorker

With his ongoing exploration into actor behavior and an ever-innovative body of work, Richard Maxwell has written a study guide to the art of making theater. This illuminating volume provides a deeper understanding of his work, aesthetic philosophy, and process for creating theater.

Richard Maxwell is a director and playwright and the artistic director of New York City Players. Maxwell's plays have been commissioned and presented in over 20 countries. He is a Doris Duke Performing Artist. Maxwell has been selected for a Guggenheim Fellowship, two OBIE Awards, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant, and he was an invited artist in the Whitney Biennial (2012). Maxwell is the recipient of the 2014 Spalding Gray Award.
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About the author

RICHARD MAXWELL, born in 1967 (Fargo), Maine East High School (Park Ridge), Studied acting at Illinois State University (Normal), Co-founder of the Cook County Theater Department (Chicago), Artistic Director of New York City Players, Resident Writer at New Dramatists, Recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, Obie Award and Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Plays, 1996-2000 is published by Theatre Communications Group.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Theatre Communications Group
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Published on
Feb 16, 2015
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Pages
96
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ISBN
9781559367189
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Language
English
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Genres
Performing Arts / Acting & Auditioning
Performing Arts / Theater / Direction & Production
Performing Arts / Theater / General
Performing Arts / Theater / Stagecraft & Scenography
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This content is DRM protected.
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This volume collects for the first time the work of one of America’s most important, vital and original young voices. Turning the American family drama firmly on its head, "Maxwell strips more layers of explanation from the Freudian family romance, shining light on the humiliation and fury usually reasoned out of sight by psychologizing playwrights. Few characters in contemporary drama are as exposed as Maxwell’s."—Marc Robinson, Village Voice

"Imagine if you took a giant hatpin and stuck it into Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky. Once all the hot air had leaked out of that melodrama about a working-class underdog who wins fame, fortune and love in the boxing ring, you might find something very much like Richard Maxwell’s Boxing 2000. By taking a conventional formula and draining it of all its humid sentimentality and synthetic adrenaline, Mr. Maxwell discovers something new and unexpected. Boxing 2000 is a real knockout: a play that not only challenges theatrical clichés, but your ideas about theatre itself."—Wall Street Journal

""It’s a sensation that’s felt all too rarely these days. Watching Mr. Maxwell’s work makes you think of what it must have been like to stumble upon the baffling but seductive creations of a young Sam Shepard in the early 1960’s in the East Village."—, New York Times

This first volume collects nine of Maxwell’s early works: Boxing 2000, Caveman, House (1999 OBIE Award winner), Showy Lady Slipper and others.

Richard Maxwell is a writer, director and songwriter. He began his acting career with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, where he helped found the Cook County Theater Department, which challenged the principles of traditional acting training. He is artistic director of New York City Players. His plays have been performed in the U.S. at Soho Rep, The Kitchen, P.S. 122, HERE, the Williamstown Theater Festival, Walker Arts Center and the Wexner Center for the Arts; and in Paris, Berlin, Dublin, Brussels, Amsterdam and Vienna.

A New York Times Best Seller!

By the actress, writer, and one of the funniest women on Twitter, an outrageous, hysterical memoir of acting on impulse, plotting elaborate hoaxes, and refusing to acknowledge boundaries in any form

Jenny Mollen is an actress and writer living in Los Angeles. She is also a wife, married to a famous guy (which is annoying only because he gets free shit and she doesn't). She doesn't want much from life. Just to be loved—by everybody: her parents, her dogs, her ex-boyfriends, her ex-boyfriends' dogs, her husband, her husband's ex-girlfriends, her husband's ex-girlfriend's new boyfriends, etc. Some people might call that impulse crazy, but isn't "crazy" really just a word boring people use to describe fun people? (And Jenny is really, really fun, you guys!)

In these pages, you'll find stories of Jenny at her most genuine, whether it's stalking her therapist (because he knows everything about her so shouldn't she get to know everything about him?); throwing a bachelorette party so bad that one of the guests is suspected dead; or answering the eternal question, Would your best friend blow your husband on a car ride to dinner if she didn't know you were hiding in the backseat?
I Like You Just the Way I Am is about not doing the right thing—about indulging your inner crazy-person. It is Jenny when she's not trying to impress anyone or come across as a responsible, level-headed member of society. With any luck it will make you better acquainted with who you really are and what you really want. Which, let's be honest, is most likely someone else's email password.

In 1865, Wild Bill Hickok killed Dave Tutt in a Missouri public square in the West's first notable "walkdown." One hundred and twenty-nine years later, Bernhard Goetz shot four threatening young men in a New York subway car. Apart from gunfire, what could the two events possibly have in common? Goetz, writes Richard Maxwell Brown, was acquitted of wrongdoing in the spirit of a uniquely American view of self-defense, a view forged in frontier gunfights like Hickok's. When faced with a deadly threat, we have the right to stand our ground and fight. We have no duty to retreat. No Duty to Retreat offers an engrossing account of how this idea of self-defense emerged, focusing in particular on the gunfights of the frontier and their impact on our legal traditions. The right to stand one's ground, Brown tells us, appeared relatively recently. Under English common law, the threatened party had a legal duty to retreat "to the wall" before fighting back. But from the nineteenth century on, such authorities as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes rejected this doctrine as unsuited to both the American mind and the age of firearms. Brown sketches the influence of frontier violence, demonstrating the tremendous impact of the famous gunmen and the prevalence of what he calls "grassroots gunfighters"--unsung men who resorted to their guns at a moment's notice. These duels, ambushes, and firefights, he writes, were more than personal vendettas: They were part of a "Western Civil War of Incorporation," pitting gunmen--usually Republicans and Unionists, who sided with the expanding banks, railroads, and businesses--against cowboys and independent farmers, who were often Democrats sympathizing with the Confederacy. Brown examines the gunfight near the O.K. Corral in this light, showing how it was a climax of tensions between Tombstone's Republican businessmen (represented by Wyatt Earp) and the county's cowboys (led by the Clantons and McLaurys). He also looks at such lesser-known battles as the Mussel Slough war, in which resisting farmers, imbued with the no-retreat ethic, fought for their independent lifestyle against encroaching rail barons. This Civil War of Incorporation fed the violence of the West and reinforced the legal doctrine of "no duty to retreat." The frontier days are long past, but Brown shows how the ethic of no retreat continues to shape everything from our entertainment to our foreign policy (including President Bush's "line drawn in the sand") to our politics to cases like that of Bernhard Goetz. Though challenged as never before by the values of peace and social activism, it remains a central theme in American thought and character.
This volume collects for the first time the work of one of America’s most important, vital and original young voices. Turning the American family drama firmly on its head, "Maxwell strips more layers of explanation from the Freudian family romance, shining light on the humiliation and fury usually reasoned out of sight by psychologizing playwrights. Few characters in contemporary drama are as exposed as Maxwell’s."—Marc Robinson, Village Voice

"Imagine if you took a giant hatpin and stuck it into Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky. Once all the hot air had leaked out of that melodrama about a working-class underdog who wins fame, fortune and love in the boxing ring, you might find something very much like Richard Maxwell’s Boxing 2000. By taking a conventional formula and draining it of all its humid sentimentality and synthetic adrenaline, Mr. Maxwell discovers something new and unexpected. Boxing 2000 is a real knockout: a play that not only challenges theatrical clichés, but your ideas about theatre itself."—Wall Street Journal

""It’s a sensation that’s felt all too rarely these days. Watching Mr. Maxwell’s work makes you think of what it must have been like to stumble upon the baffling but seductive creations of a young Sam Shepard in the early 1960’s in the East Village."—, New York Times

This first volume collects nine of Maxwell’s early works: Boxing 2000, Caveman, House (1999 OBIE Award winner), Showy Lady Slipper and others.

Richard Maxwell is a writer, director and songwriter. He began his acting career with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, where he helped found the Cook County Theater Department, which challenged the principles of traditional acting training. He is artistic director of New York City Players. His plays have been performed in the U.S. at Soho Rep, The Kitchen, P.S. 122, HERE, the Williamstown Theater Festival, Walker Arts Center and the Wexner Center for the Arts; and in Paris, Berlin, Dublin, Brussels, Amsterdam and Vienna.

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