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by Donald Hill
Plays keep the audiences coming and going with the eternal ebb and flow of their constant search for truth and knowledge, excitement, and emotional fulfillment.
Plays keep the theatre alive. Broadway successes and flops, the great works of major playwrights and lesser work of minor playwrights, published and unpublished work of student playwrights are all fuel for the theatre.
"All the world's a stage, And all the men
and women merely players . . ."
-William Shakespeare, As You Like It.
The importance of speech and the theatre at Muskingum College can be traced to its earliest beginnings.
In 1837, Muskingum College was founded by ministers and devout congregations for the purpose of educating ministers. Every president of the college in the nineteenth century was a minister.
The theatre at Muskingum grew out of the elocutionary movement, which later appeared as speech and theatre. The close relationship of the ministry and elocution, combined with the Scotch-Irish love of education, made clear the love-hate relationship between the Presbyterians and the theatre.
The church's complaint against the theatre was about the tawdry moral character of the professional theatre and its practitioners.
Theatre for educational purposes in schools was an entirely different matter!
Dr. Hill's extensive research and attention to detail in this book make it an invaluable resource for any student of theatre or speech, or theatre historian. A precise and complete history of elocution at Muskingum starts with 1837 and covers early rhetorical practices, literary societies, and the Elocution Movement, with excellent information about early great authors and teachers such as Thomas Sheridan, John Walker, William Russell, James E. Murdoch, and Francois Delsarte, to name only a few.
The author describes his experiences while on several sabbaticals, in many places and with many interesting theatre personalities. The Shakespeare enthusiast will thoroughly enjoy the author's involvement with various famous Shakespearean festivals, and his insight into, and special affection for, staging many of The Bard's plays.
Decade by decade, Dr. Hill details the events in theatre throughout his 36 years at Muskingum, including the plays produced, brief synopses of the important plays, glimpses into the lives of the playwrights themselves, and complete cast lists. Wonderful photographs of various productions are scattered liberally throughout the book, with a beautiful full-color gallery section depicting posters and artwork by William Blakesley and Chab Guthrie.
For a book of this scope, reference material is a must-and the author has provided the bricks and mortar that make up the foundation for his subject: a complete production history from 1944-2000, lists of faculty, guest directors, and designers, theatre seminars, and a complete index.
For anyone who loves the theatre and its charisma, this book is about - Mostly Theatre.
Donald P. Hill, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication and Theatre from Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, has spent most of his life deeply involved with the theatre.
He received his Bachelor or Arts degree from Muskingum College in 1949, then taught public school for ten years before returning to his alma mater to become the Director of Theatre. During his career at Muskingum, Dr. Hill continued his education in theatre, obtaining his Master of Arts from Western Reserve University, a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa, and his Doctorate from the University of Minnesota.
After his retirement from Muskingum in 1995, Don set out to document a lifetime career in the theatre. Forty-six years dedicated to teaching students the skills of acting, directing, and other facets of the theatre have provided him with the vast amounts of information found in Mostly Theatre.
"I am totally committed to the amateur and professional theatre, and to theatre as a significant element in a liberal arts education," says Don. "I am pleased to have been a part of the tradition of excellence at Muskingum College, and the rich heritage of speech and theatre which has contributed substance and value to Muskingum's education of 'uncommon men and women.'"
His previous publications include The Muskingum Theatre Handbook (1970) and "Honors in Theatre: Bertolt Brecht," published in nationally-recognized industry magazine, The Speech Teacher (1968).
ISBN: 1887932763; 448 pages, 8 page color Gallery, hard cover, . Order #HILL $34.95