NOTES ON DIRECTING: Frank Hauser, Russell Reich
Published: Methuen Drama, in the UK, February 2010
RRP: 9.99 gbp
ISBN: 9 781408 125205
Review: Rod Elongate, 5 April 2010
Here’s a link to methun: www.acblack.com/drama/Books/details.aspx?isbn=9781408125205&title=+Notes+on+Directing
I’ve just read it and I’m grinning with pleasure.This is a remarkable little book. I’ve never read anything quite so succinct in which each paragraph goes wham, bang to the heart of the matter.
NOTES ON DIRECTING began as a series of notes from director Frank Hauser to his student (now a director himself) Russell Reich. Reich has expanded the notes in the light of his own experience. This history gives the NOTES a ring of truth, but it’s (not really) the reason the book is so remarkable. It’s its form.
NOTES is literally a series of quite wonderful notes – they run from 1 to 130. They’re grouped quite logically into sets like ‘Understanding the script’, ‘The Director’s Role’, ‘Rules for Rehearsal’ and so on. The form means there is no waste in what you read, all muscley meat and no wobbly fat. Some rules are long, some short; but each and every one is worth remembering.
Here’s a taster (half of Note 70):
“Please, PLEASE be decisive.
As the director, you have three weapons: ‘Yes,’ ‘No,’ and ‘I don’t know.’ Use them. Don’t dither, you can always change your mind later. . . . . (Recall 26. You perform most of the day.)”
You get the picture!
All aspects seem to be covered – how to speak with actors, engendering respect for stage management, keeping cool if an actor loses it and humiliates you. You get, too, a sense of the great responsibility you take on as director and the respect you owe to the team of creative artists around you. This is a manual for directors written from the actor’s point of view, or the playwright’s, or the audience’s. Wisdom flows from each paragraph and glows with humanity.
The book is newly published in the UK having been a great success in the US. I’m not surprised – it’s magic.
Here’s a link to the book on Amazon: