Carey Perloff, Harold Pinter during rehearsals
at Classic Stage Company in 1989. Photo by Tom Chargin
Tom Stoppard, Carey Perloff, 2012, in Rehearsal for THE HARD PROBLEM at A.C.T. Photo by Kevin Berne
ABOUT THE BOOK...
This study links two seemingly divergent artists in a revisionist context that sheds new light on both. While it is generally assumed that Harold Pinter and Tom Stoppard sit at opposite ends of the aesthetic, theatrical and political spectrum, I argue that by examining them together, many new insights can be gleaned about their work and their place in the theatrical canon. This contention is supported by my extensive archival information, arising from three decades of close collaboration with both playwrights.
It is my belief that a play yields its meaning most vividly and specifically through the actual process of casting, designing, rehearsing, staging and producing. Over the course of my career as a director and an Artistic Director, first at the Classic Stage Company in New York (from 1988-1992) and then at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco (1992-2018), I worked on numerous occasions with both Pinter and Stoppard in the rehearsal room and was able to develop an understanding of how to unlock the plays through practical and analytic means.
This book does not cover the entire oeuvre of either writer, but references the major plays while focusing on selected works as case studies for the understanding of fundamental “rules of play” pertaining to each writer. By reexamining their artistic biographies, and in particular by teasing out the fascinating impact that being Jewish (and thus “outsiders”) had on the nature of Pinter and Stoppard's work, I provide new ways of positioning their plays for the current moment.
This reevaluation of Pinter and Stoppard's work moves beyond academic notions of “postmodern” and “realistic” drama to provide a contemporary director's point of view on the way their work functions today as drama on stage. Thirty years after the major criticism on both playwrights first emerged, the time has come for a fresh examination of the unique contribution of their work in the twenty-first century.
To all of you who came to one of my book launch events, thank you for your support! It was a great opportunity to connect and have a conversation about my experience with two of the greatest playwrights of our time. I also want to thank the independent booksellers, noted below, who have generously hosted these programs!
Green Apple Books
June 13 at 7pm
The Oxford Playhouse Panel
May 26 at 4:00pm
(Carey Perloff and Hermione Lee
Carey Perloff and Michael Chabon
May 8 at 6:00pm
Book Passage Ferry Building
May 1 at 2:00pm
Institute for Advanced Studies at
"Secrets from the Rehearsal Room"
November 17, 2021
Harold Pinter, Carey Perloff, 2012, in Rehearsal
THE MARTIN E. SEGAL THEATRE CENTER
SEGAL TALKS with Carey Perloff
A conversation about her new book
Pinter and Stoppard: A Director's View
Moderator: Frank Hentschker, Director, MESTC
The Graduate Center CUNY
Broadcast Live December 6, 2021
Professor Dame Hermione Lee
Photo by Toilm Pilston