Theatre to Change Men's Souls: The Artistry of Adrian Hall

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9780874134513: Theatre to Change Men's Souls: The Artistry of Adrian Hall
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Theatre to Change Men's Souls is an exploration of the creative process of the extraordinary stage director Adrian Hall. Since the 1960s, Hall has been a major force in the development of the American regional theatre. He was the controversial artistic director who ran the Trinity Repertory Company for twenty-five years and simultaneously headed the Dallas Theater Center for six years. Today Hall is an independent director in demand at major theatres across the country.
The first part of the book traces the history of Hall's career: his training and experience in the vibrant arena of off-Broadway in the 1950s and 1960s, his decision to forsake commercial theatre in favor of regional theatre, his persistent efforts to create a permanent home for theatre artists, his infamous battles with his institutions, and his monumental efforts to develop an audience with a hunger for theatre.
The second part of Theatre to Change Men's Souls takes the reader into the rehearsal room to see Hall's day-to-day technique at work. Hall's most significant productions are used to exemplify the director's creative process. Each chapter introduces the reader to another facet of that process: the director's analysis and interpretation of the text, his techniques for motivating and communicating with his actors, his collaboration with scenic, lighting, and costume designers, and his methods for integrating all the production elements into his vision of the production. The final chapter is a case study of The Tempest that demonstrates how all these facets coalesce in a single production.
To capture the ephemeral art of the director, Jeannie Marlin Woods observed the daily rehearsals of Hall's productions and also conducted dozens of interviews with Hall and with those who have worked with him for many years. In their own words, actors, designers, and directors describe Hall's collaborative process. Definitions are given for such Hall expressions as "pull it closer to yourself," "start from point zero," and "exploding the text." The unique "Trinity style" of presentational acting is explained in theory and practice. And Hall's most stunning moments of stage magic are described in detail, including the famous mutilation scene from Brother to Dragons and the entrance of Hitler in The Cathedral of Ice.
Theatre practitioners and theatregoers alike will find this an informative and insightful book. It illuminates the mysterious process of the stage director and documents the career of Adrian Hall - a truly original American artist who set out to create a theatre that would change men's souls.

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From Library Journal:

Known as a maverick, Hall abandoned commercial theater in 1964 to found the Trinity Repertory in Providence; in 1983 he became artistic director of the Dallas Theater Center and ran both organizations in tandem for six years. If there is a need for a biography of someone acknowledged by the author herself to be "outside regional theatre circles...largely unknown," this book fills it. Scrupulous in her research and documentation, Woods (author of Maureen Stapleton: A Bio-Bibliography, Greenwood Pr., 1992) has amassed a two-part study of Hall's life and career. Part 1 follows his training and development; Part 2 thoroughly discusses every aspect of five noted Hall productions. More than anyone but a specialist needs to know, but recommended for academic libraries with large theater collections.
- Diane H. Albosta, Episcopal H.S. Lib., Alexandria, Va.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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