A Primer in Theatre History covers productions, personalities, theories, innovations, and plays from ancient Greece to the Spanish Golden Age. Grange discusses theatre from 534 BC in Athens to 1681 AD in Madrid. The book contains highly informative chapters on theatre culture in the ancient classical world, the medieval period, the Italian Renaissance, classical Asia, German-speaking Europe, France to 1658, and England to 1642.
Following a wide-ranging introduction, chapters allow the uninitiated reader straightforward access to well-researched material, often presented in a humorous and approachable fashion. Descriptions of films augment discussions of theatre, while an extended bibliography and comprehensive index assist the reader in making further inquiries. Each chapter features illustrations by Mallory Prucha, a designer and graphic illustrator who has received several awards at theatre conferences around the US.
A Primer in Theatre History does not read like a scholarly tome. Its whimsical wrinkles offer readers a more contemporaneous view of theatre than is customary. It employs, for example, frequent references to movies germane to topics and time periods under discussion. Such use of film promotes familiarity among younger readers, who can then appropriate analogies to theatre performance.
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