This textbook is certainly not the most comprehensive guide to the world of theatre, but rather, it is more of a handbook, a manual, providing essential information about the field and those who work in it. It was conceived to serve students who are new to theatre and in need of learning the basics so that they can decide for themselves whether to pursue further research in the field by way of other classes and other textbooks… or not.
While the need for scholarly accuracy and thoroughness is of utmost importance in academia, it is just as valuable to understand that it might not be the best route. It can overwhelm beginners with information and details that speak more of the literacy, background and passion of the writer(s) than of the specific requirements of a general education class, such as Theatre Appreciation or Introduction To Theatre. There are plenty of avenues to showcase articles, research papers and monographs, and plenty of upper-level classes or graduate programs where there is a greater layering of the students’ knowledge and perspective.
The chapters of this book discuss general concepts and areas of study and also investigate theatre professionals, their creative process and duties. Some chapters feature interviews with artists to provide contemporary insights. Finally, the appendix was written by a former student in the class so that her perspective about the takeaways of the course could be discussed.
A compact bibliography is provided at the end of the book to recommend further readings and literature should the students feel the need for a more in-depth analysis of each topic.
I am immensely grateful to everyone who contributed to this book, professionals and academics alike. Thank you Andrew Kahl, Ingrid De Sanctis, John Bagby, Bethany Marx, Michael Riha, Missy Maramara, Krysta Dennis, Emily Jones and Barbara N. Kahl. Thank you to the kind professionals who accepted to be part of this book too: Alaine Alldaffer, Hal Luftig (a SUNY Oneonta alum!), TJ Young, Shawn Irish and Laura Cole.
I’d like to extend a special thanks to my former student, Gillian Canavan. Every now and then, we teachers are blessed with a student who runs the extra mile – or several extra miles – and invests in the work more than what is required, or expected. Gillian is one of those.
Another special thank you goes to another student of mine, Devyn Hom, who has graciously gone over the text looking for consistency.
This book was realized thanks to the support of the Open Educational Resources (OER) Initiative at SUNY Oneonta. Jennifer Jensen in the Milne Library has been an invaluable asset for the purposes of putting together, formatting and shaping the material.
I hope the readers will appreciate our efforts at providing educational material that is directly related to the curriculum of the class and making it widely available through the Open Access platform. One of the reasons why I embarked on this endeavor was that I was tired of seeing students underperforming in class because they didn’t have the money to buy the textbook.
Comments and suggestions (on this form) for further improvements are welcome, as the beauty of the platform itself is that it allows adjustments, rewrites and additions. If you adopt this book to teach a class, let us know on the same form.
Thank you all. Now read the book.