The Stuff of Dreams: Behind the Scenes of an American Community Theater

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9780142000960: The Stuff of Dreams: Behind the Scenes of an American Community Theater
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Provides a poignant portrait of a small Massachusettes community theater in its seventy-fifth year of operation, as it becomes embroiled in disputes over proposed structural changes and its auditions for it most controversial play to date, M. Butterfly. Reprint.

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About the Author:

Leah Hager Cohen is the author of five novels, most recently No Book but the World and The Grief of Others, which was long-listed for the Orange Prize, selected as a New York Times Notable Book, and named one of the best books of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle, Kirkus Reviews, and The Globe and Mail. She is also the author of five nonfiction titles, including Train Go Sorry and I Dont Know. She is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Book Review.

From Publishers Weekly:

In this unique theatrical memoir, novelist Cohen chronicles the ups and downs of her suburban community theater's struggles over the staging of David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly. The project is fraught with problemsthe Arlington, Mass., theater and its conservative supporters are reluctant to stage a play that deals daringly with sexuality and race; meanwhile, it proves quite difficult to find an Asian man to play the transgendered lead (who also has a nude scene)but the show must and does go on. Cohen (Heat Lightning), who loves working in theater, is a keen observer who never hesitates to pinpoint the problems and personality clashes endemic to the process of putting on a play. While she provides useful background, from the history of her theater (begun in 1913) to the importance of community theater in the U.S., she is best at describing the endlessly delicate negotiations between the small but award-winning theater's director, actors, designers and stagehands. Cohen is respectful of everyone's opinions and methods as they face M. Butterfly's considerable challenges to the theater's conventional approach to staging a production and moves us assuredly through her characters' process of political and artistic discovery. While never deeply probing the myriad social issues it raises, Cohen's backstage drama does give us a miniature yet nuanced glimpse into a world rarely explored. Agent, Barney Karpfinger. (May)Forecast: Though the appeal of Cohen's memoir is probably limited to readers involved in community theater, there are so few books written about that milieu that hers could find a small niche.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780670899814: The Stuff of Dreams: Behind the Scenes of an American Community Theater

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ISBN 10:  067089981X ISBN 13:  9780670899814
Publisher: Viking, 2001
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