CHANGING STAGES BOOK
When asked to prepare a TV series on 20th-century theater, Royal National Theatre directors Eyre, an accomplished stage director, and Wright, an actor and playwright, began by writing this book. Selective in focus, this illustrated volume is nonacademic and personal (even moody), with a distinct ability to point out the ridiculous. The authors do not pretend to have the last word; instead, they look at British and American theater obsessively, through the lens of the National Theatre and British pride. The book often shifts into neutral by narrating plays' plots, but then it comes back into gear with a witty, clearheaded overview of a playwright or period. The Wilde legacy, for example, is treated as the history of censorship. There are minor playwrights who should not have been covered, some major playwrights who get short shrift, and some passages that are sharp and accurate (e.g., the discussions of Sam Shepard and Tom Stoppard). A useful introduction to 20th-century, English-speaking theater.