Item description for The Director's Eye: A Comprehensive Textbook for Directors and Actors by John Ahart...
Overview Written by John Ahart. A comprehensive textbook for directors and actors. Can a theatre class textbook be both inspirational and informative? Yes! This holistic book on directing and acting does it all. Students will keep it as a lifelong career reference on how to make things work. Written subjectively, it's based on nearly a half-century of teaching and directing. A text that compels involvement in all layers of creating memorable theatre. Thirty-five chapters in seven sections with assignments and convenient section summaries make a complete semester course. This text is far more than "how-to", it's a narrative about artistic discovery. Experientially it reveals how to jolt lagging imaginations into an ensemble of lively and invloved performers. Adaptable for use by student directors and actors from secondary to graduate level. Recommended by leading theatre educators as the text they've been waiting for. Sample chapters include: The Nature of Theatre, Finding Dramatic Action, Pinter Sketches, Rehearsal Rhythm, Memorization, Scenes from "Waiting for Godot", Introduction to Style, Comedy Nuts and Bolts, Theatrical Space. John Ahart is Professor Emeritus of Theatre, University of Illinois. As Artistic Director of Illinois' Theatre of Lincoln and the American Experience he was the subject of a PBS documentary and has received numerous citations
Publishers Description Can a theatre class textbook be both inspirational and informative? Yes This holistic book on directing and acting does it all. Students will keep it as a lifelong career reference on how to make things work. Written subjectively, it's based on nearly a half-century of teaching and directing. A text that compels involvement in all the layers of creating memorable theatre. Thirty-five chapters in seven sections with assignments and convenient section summaries make it a complete semester course. This text is far more than "how-to." It's a narrative about artistic discovery. Experientially it reveals how to joit lagging imaginations into an ensemble of lively and involved performers. Adaptable for use by student directors and actors from secondary to graduate level. Recommended by leading theatre educators as the text they've been waiting for. Sample chapters: The Nature of Theatre, Finding Dramatic Action, Pinter Sketches, Rehearsal Rhythm, Memorization, Scenes from Waiting for Godot, Introduction to Style, Comedy Nuts and Bolts, Theatrical Space.
Citations And Professional Reviews The Director's Eye: A Comprehensive Textbook for Directors and Actors by John Ahart has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Voice of Youth Advocates - 02/01/2002 page 452
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More About John Ahart
John Ahart has had a long and distinguished career in the American theatre. "A Different Direction" is the product of his forty-one years of experience as director, playwright, designer, and teacher.
At the University of Illinois he supervised the graduate directors' workshop and later headed the MFA directing program for much of his thirty-two-year tenure, directing a wide range of major works at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. Since his retirement, he has resided in Southern California, where he has devoted his time to writing.
"A Different Direction" brings together Ahart's insight gained through four decades of practical experience creating original works, directing theatre classics, using and developing nontraditional theatre spaces, and building and sustaining a theatre company that gave voice to Americans, spanning 160 years of our history.
Ahart holds a BA from Marietta College, an MA from the University of Illinois, and a PhD from the University of Minnesota.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Director's Eye: A Comprehensive Textbook for Directors and Actors?
Outstanding in every way! Aug 21, 2005
Along with William Ball's superb A SENSE OF DIRECTION, Director and instructor John Ahart's THE DIRECTOR'S EYE stand as the finest book ever written about the art of directing.
Breaking down the mystery of directing into simple yet illuminating steps, Ahart takes great pains to celebrate the individual voice and the joy inherent in the art of the collaborative theatre.
Ahart stresses the importance of finding the artist's point of view and marrying it to the author's text in creating a staged performance. Carefull to discriminate between merely "staging" a play from "directing", Ahart lays out several activities and philosophies designed to create a safe and collaborative environment where the actors and the director (as well as designers and the rest of the production staff) work to create a unified production that can move an audience.
Ahart should actually have called the book, THE DIRECTOR'S HEART as he repeatedly stresses the importance of using the natural and personal experienceds that one brings to the creative table. He constantly (and rightfully) stresses that the creative process is NOT an intellectual excersise but rather one of passion. It is the intellect though that focuses and DIRECTS the passion towards a single, focuses point.
Written in an inspirational, approachable and helpful tone, THE DIRECTOR'S EYE is a must have for any director and actor.
A 'must' for aspiring directors Jul 4, 2001
John Ahart's The Director's Eye is a comprehensive text for directors and actors is intended for student audiences, but contains practical information which represents a half-century of experience in teaching and directing, containing over thirty chapters on everything from imparting the style and content of a play to the special challenges of comedy and other formats. A 'must' for aspiring directors.
The finest text for directing and acting available. Jun 25, 2001
I've read Clurman and Brook but no text has the depth and breadth of John Ahart's "The Director's Eye". Look at how he advises directors and actors on the ways in which rehearsals become far more productive; the ways scenes become much more dynamic. I am especially impressed with Ahart's methods of rehearsing actors, how to balance structure with freedom, how to create an environment where the play "inevitably happens". This text offers ideas I've never seen anywhere else and not only does "The Director's Eye" present theory; it equally demonstrates how to impliment techniques of rehearsing actors, staging scenes, creating a working ensemble. People may think that they know these concepts; however, I strongly advocate reading this text. It will shake up many conventions that work against the immediate theatrical experience. Just one example is the way Ahart advises having actors memorize their lines - a seemingly banal task few have investigated. Ahart argues that it is often here that acting dies, in the methods actors use to retain their lines. The text is also a practical guidebook offering examples of directing such as working with comedy, scoring the play, creating rehearsal units, and progressing through rehearsals.
I plan to recommend "The Director's Eye" to every other teacher of directing and acting that I know!
Director's Eye - It's a Keeper May 11, 2001
This is one of those books that I keep coming back to, re-reading a passage or chapter, setting it down, and then coming back to it, again and again.
It isn't just for theatre directors; it's for actors in film, television, and theatre, and anyone else in the arts who longs to build meaning into their work.
As an actor in Hollywood, I can say that productions out here seem to get mired in the technical trappings--the lights, the camera angles, sightlines, continuity, cheating this out, coverage, blah blah. But where the hell is the connection between the actors? Between the director and the actor? Between the actor and himself? What is the dramatic action? And most of all, why the hell are we doing this, anyway? Does this mean anything to any of us? Where's the humanity in this piece? What's our personal connection to this material?
The messages in this book are universal and practical. Someone said when I moved to LA, "You need to find your voice." This book is the Start button.
Through the Director's Eye a World Envisioned May 7, 2001
The Director's Eye, announced as a comprehensive textbook for directors and actors, is that and so much more. John Ahart's creation is a book of rare breadth and depth. Broad in its application, in the very universality that is the theatre and life. Deep in its impact, in the way it takes us to the core of our experience and ourselves.
Emerging directors and actors will find Ahart's original and well thought-out approach to directing and acting invaluable as they prepare for, deepen their relationship with, and celebrate the works they engage. Gentle but purposeful instruction, ample provision for incremental practice, and reliance on the discrimination of the authentic audience, whether the audience of one or many, make this effort an extraordinary contribution to the field of theatre.
For those of us who find our vocation outside of theatre, The Director's Eye is an unexpected treasure. Pithy comments, artfully constructed analogies, and rare insights are found at every turn of the page. With grace and perceptiveness John Ahart writes about directing but teaches leadership.
The author himself signals the importance of this work beyond the world of the play. In the preface he tells us that learning to direct . . . "demands continuous learning about ways to nurture the evolution of a collectively created world." What is leadership if not the nurturing of "a collectively created world?"
The seven parts of the book each have a message for leaders. Part One helps us define the role of the leader and pay attention to what is important. Part Two emphasizes the value of preparing for the result we envision. Its six chapters help us enter the moment, harness the power of our mindset, appreciate the impact of words, find models to shape our action, build on the potential of our space, and enhance time through the potency of choice. Part Three invites us to let "the work" shape its own process and result. Part Four calls our assumptions into question and uses the tool of collaboration to unify our work. Part Five takes communication to a new level by recognizing the essential nature of deeply connected relationships. Part Six causes us to look anew at common resources and take advantage of what we have previously failed to notice. Finally, Part Seven helps us make sense of the whole. It warns us not to be defined by our resources. It inveigles us to stay true to our core purpose. It sets us free to pursue our own vision.
All of us, whether company CEO or leader in a more subtle arena, will find this book to be a friend on the leadership journey. It is filled with opportunities to help ourselves, our families, and our organizations find satisfying purpose in what we do together, create the culture we want to be a part of, and deliver what we choose at a level that pleases us and our "audience."