An actor should look at the theater like "This
might be my last day on earth. I might never
survive this. I might never survive this."

- Julie Harris

Buy the book at Amazon!

Three generations of theater genius speak in

Theater Voices: conversations on the stage
by Steve Capra
from Rowman and Littlefield/Scarecrow Press

According to Sir Peter Hall, "The theater's been dying for two thousand years,
and I'm sure will continue to."

In the meantime, Mr. Hall and other leading figures of the stage have continued to
influence theater productions throughout the world. In this collection of interviews, 27
theater professionals (including actors, playwrights, directors, critics, and teachers) explore
theater theory and practice. From traditional attitudes toward theater to more avant-garde approaches, every facet of stage performance is addressed.

As a whole, these interviews reveal both the strength and extraordinary mutability of theater,
as expressed by some of the most honored names of the stage.

"Zeroing in as to what makes these theatrical personalities tick, readers will be captivated by the tidbits of information illustrating just how each contribute their distinct ideas and methods to theatrical production....fascinating..."

"The interviews in this book reveal both the strength and extraordinary mutability of theatre, as expressed by some of the most honored and well-regarded names of the stage....The book is worth reading by the people not only in theatre but also in arts, literature and music."

"This collection of interviews addresses every aspect of stage performance and theater theory from the perspectives of actors, playwrights, directors, critics and teachers, whose approaches range from the traditional to the avant-garde. Capra, a playwright and theater critic, conducted the interviews from 1993 to 2000. Although many of the interviewees lament what they see as the decline of theater, their very participation in it portends a positive future."

The individuals interviewed in Theater Voices have had an enormous, international influence on the theater, and Steve Capra searches for
the personal vision of each. They span three generations, from the late Quentin Crisp (who was interviewed at the age of 87)
to new-generation artists like Oskar Eustis. Likewise, the artistic visions represented here range from the nobly traditional to the iconoclastic.
At one end of the spectrum, the critic Sheridan Morley - with magnificent British reserve - describes experimental theater as something
"I'm not entirely sure I would encourage." On the other hand, Karen Finley, the personification of brash American expression,
tells us that "The whole notion of memorization and character is very dated in theater."

The conversations discuss such questions as:

  • What are there fundamental differences between American and British theaters?
  • Is the theater in a decline?
  • In light of the fact that there are television and film in the world, can the theater survive?
  • Can audiences move beyond realism along with playwrights?
  • Is musical theater an important art form?
  • How should we produce Shakespeare for modern audiences?
  • What holds an audience in a non-narrative stage piece?
  • Whose fruitcake does Julie Harris serve at tea? (hint: it's from Amherst, Massachusetts.)

Theater Voices includes interviews with leaders in the American and European theater.
Choose a name to learn more about these brilliant people - and to read excerpts from the interviews:

Sheridan Morley Vjachelslav Dolgachev Peter Hall
Nicholas Barter Julie Harris Adrian Noble
Uta Hagen John Lahr Michael Shurtleff
Alan Ayckbourn Fred Silver Harold Prince
Robert Brustein Edward Albee Zerka Moreno
Stephen Daldry Quentin Crisp Martin Sherman
Oscar Eustis Hilary Strong Ellen Stewart
Joseph Chaikin Spalding Gray Andrei Serban
Richard Foreman Eddie Izzard Karen Finley

Everyone on this list is an undisputed authority on the theatre. But an authority's word is not the last word. It's only the first word.
We want to know what you think of all this - what surprised you, what you disagree with, what you can confirm.
Here's our Discussion!

Email the author.

Steve Capra is a theatre critic who has written for Stage Directions and other theater publications.
He sits on the International Committee of The American Theatre Critics Association.
An actor, dramaturg, and director, he's worked at such companies as
The Living Theatre, La MaMa E.T.C. and The New York Shakespeare Festival.

Theater Voices is published by Scarecrow Press.