Binghamton University Students:
Ashleigh Marie Sherman
The celebrated Austrian heater director Max Reinhardt, recognized in America primarily for his elaborate productions of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Franz Werfel’s The Eternal Road, and Karl Vollmoeller’s The Miracle, was born in 1873 at Baden near Vienna, Austria and died in New York City in 1943. Reinhardt’s illustrious career takes on added significance because it coincides with a major shift in the evolution of the modern theater: the ascendancy of the director as the key figure in theatrical production. Reinhardt’s reputation in international theater history is secured by the leading role he played in this transformation, as well as by his innovative use of new theater technology and endless experimentation with theater spaces and locales, which together redefined traditional relationships between actor and audience toward a new participatory theater.
What is a prompt book?
The prompt book is a master copy of the production script and contains a wealth of instructions and information alongside the basic text of the play. As well as the actors’ lines, you will often see cues for music, movement, light, and many other aspects of stage business. It may also contain sketches of how a piece of staging is supposed to look, or which costume a character should wear in a scene.
Why are his important?
Reinhardt’s directorial prompt books reflect the ways in which he made plays by major playwrights, including Ibsen, Shakespeare and Wilder, his own. The prompt books contain notations denoting changes in the script, actor moves and technical cues, instructions on how sound, props and scenery were used, and stage drawings. They help us to reconstruct Reinhardt’s techniques and directions in productions.
Thank you to the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation who generously provided the funding to make this extraordinary project possible. Thank you also to the following individuals who helped make this project successful: Binghamton University Libraries’ Staff: Benjamin Coury, Nicholas Eggleston, Jean Green, Blythe Roveland-Brenton, Erin Rushton, David Schuster, Rachel Turner, Brandy Wrighter; Binghamton University Students: Madelynn Cullings, Kashawn Hernandez, Aanyah Jhonson-Whyte, Marisa Joseph, Bethany Maloney, Ashleigh Marie Sherman, Thomas Tegtmeier, Joseph Vitale.
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