by Anne Nicholson Weber
How can theatre thrive in a culture dominated by film and television?
Upstaged features interviews with stage actors, playwrights, theatre directors, and others, including Julie Taymore, Tony Kushner, Anna Deavere Smith, Peter Hall, Wallace Shawn, Frank Rich, Simon Callow, Maggie Gyllenhaal, David Leveaux, Adrian Lester, Nicholas Hytner, Paul Scofield, and Robert Brustein.
Ever since the introduction of the “talkies” in the ’20s and television in the ’50s, live theatre has struggled for its place in a culture increasingly dominated by the screen. How does that dominance affect individual theatre artists and theatrical movements? How does it change what audiences seek from the theater? What, in the end, is the role of live theatre in our media-saturated culture?
Anne Nicholson Weber has sought answers from an extraordinary cast of leading actors, playwrights, directors, producers, critics, agents and marketers. In conversations that range from close-ups to cultural imperialism, microphones to myth-making, sitcoms to Shakespeare, and vocal technique to voyeurism, these thoughtful observers illuminate the struggle of making a living versus making art; the modern audience’s preference for images over words and for technology over the human body; and the imperative that theatre plays to its essential strengths of language, metaphor, immediacy and continuity.
“Upstaged offers readers informal and accessible dialogues on issues of utmost consequence to performance studies. …Weber’s impressive collection of interviews offers a valuable look into theatre’s current trajectories as artists seek ways to have the theatre be, as Julie Taymor says, ‘the sensation of life being breathed into an object by the addition of human imagination.'” –The Drama Review