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Letters from an Actor

Letters from an Actor

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  • ISBN-13: 9781493084609
  • Book Condition: VeryGood
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The legendary 1964 Broadway run of Hamlet directed by John Gielgud is one of the most famous productions of Shakespeare's most important play. Audacious for its time in concept and execution, it placed the actors in everyday clothes within an unassuming "rehearsal" set, with the Ghost of Hamlet's father projected as a shadow against the rear wall and voiced by the director himself. It was also a runaway critical and financial success, breaking the then-record for most performances of a Broadway show. This was in no small part due to the starring role played by Richard Burton, whose romance with Elizabeth Taylor was the object of widespread fascination.

Present throughout, and ever attentive to the backstage drama and towering egos on display, was the actor William Redfield, who played Guildenstern. During the three months of the play's preparation, from rehearsals through out-of-town tryouts to the gala opening night on Broadway, Redfield wrote a series of letters describing the daily happenings and his impressions of them. In 1967, they were in 1967 collected into Letters from an Actor, a brilliant and unusual book that has since become a classic behind-the-scenes account that remains an indispensable contribution to theatrical history and lore.

This new edition at last brings Redfield's classic back into print, as The Motive and the Cue--the Sam Mendes-directed play about the Gielgud production that is based in part on the book--continues its successful run on London's West End.

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