By Jonathan Levy.
Second edition. A Theatre of the Imagination has become a standard text in children's theater classes in colleges across the country and a well-thumbed treasure on the bookshelves of many a playwright and director. Now comes the long-awaited second edition, adding three provocative new essays. "Rereading the [original] essays," writes Levy, "I am surprised to find that I agree with so much of what my younger self wrote. I am also surprised to find that, though my interest in questions of children and the theater is as strong as it ever was, my approach to those questions is now so different. Two of the three new essays in this second edition of the book reflect my change in outlook. The essay on Peter Pan is, like my earlier essays, a practical investigation into the craft and art of writing plays for children. The other two essays—"Theatre for Children in the Age of Film" and "The Idea of Cute"—are not. They are essays about dangers I sense in the wind, dangers to a sensibility and to a climate which I believe must exist for a theater for children to flourish." Jonathan Levy, as a theater professor and playwright who has written successfully for both adults and children, is eminently well qualified to grapple with these substantive issues. Named Outstanding Teacher of Theatre in American Higher Education by the Association of Theatre in Higher Education, he continues to pose, in lectures at children's theater gatherings across the United States and Canada, significant questions: What is different—and important—about writing plays for children? What sources have we left untapped? Is our impulse to didacticism always an enemy of art? What can we learn from poets, and novelists, and playwrights from the past? Levy offers springboards for discussion that are invaluable to directors and playwrights and gives us new insights into a question too seldom discussed: what are we really doing in children's theater? 7x8½—76 pages.