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The Essential Theatre, Enhanced 10th Edition

Oscar G. Brockett, Robert J. Ball

  • Published
  • Previous Editions 2011, 2008, 2004
  • 496 Pages


Engage your students and get them excited about theatre with the Enhanced Tenth Edition of THE ESSENTIAL THEATRE. The combined authorship of an authoritative theatre historian and his former student--an active theatre practitioner and historian himself--makes this book ideal for an introductory theatre course. THE ESSENTIAL THEATRE has established a reputation as one of the most comprehensive, authoritative surveys of the theatre in academia. With vibrant and numerous representations of current and classic performances, this text encourages students to become active theatergoers and fans. A companion anthology, PLAYS FOR THEATRE, Enhanced 10e, contains scripts that serve as a foundation for discussion of the various types of theatrical experience explored in the text.

Oscar G. Brockett, University of Texas, Austin

Oscar G. Brockett will always have an international reputation as a theatre historian. A Distinguished Scholar honoree of the American Society of Theatre Research, he received career achievement awards from both the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and the United States Institute for Theatre Technology. In addition, he was a recipient of the Robert Lewis Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Theatre Research. After receiving his Ph.D. from Stanford University, he taught at several major American universities and at the University of Bristol in England. He also served as president of the American Theatre Association, dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas, editor of THEATRE JOURNAL, and editorial board member of the ASIAN THEATRE JOURNAL. He held the prestigious University of Texas Z.T. Scott Family Chair in Drama and was director of the Center for Dramatic and Performance Studies for several years. Dr. Brockett authored many articles in leading journals and several books, including HISTORY OF THE THEATRE. At the time of his passing, he was serving as a distinguished teaching professor at the University of Texas at Austin and the dean of the Fellows of the American Theatre.

Robert J. Ball, University of the Incarnate Word

Robert J. Ball has ample experience as a successful teacher of Introduction to Theatre and Theatre Appreciation courses at a number of large and small universities, including Trinity University, the University of Texas, and Vanderbilt University. He is also a practicing actor and director with numerous professional credits in American regional theatres, as well as credits for national and international touring productions. Dr. Ball received his Ph.D. in theatre history and criticism from the University of Texas and is currently the chair and artistic director of the Theatre Arts program at the University of the Incarnate Word.
  • Expanded versions of the "Theatre in a Broad Context" timelines to help students situate theatrical events and developments within a larger historical context. A timeline has been added to cover Asian and African theatre in Chapter 10.
  • The material in Part 2 has been reorganized to make the historical overview of Theatre's many expressions more clear, as Chapters 7, 8 and 9 now feature increased attention to the major playwrights of the modern and contemporary periods and all plays include a date of first production, thereby offering a clearer sense of context.
  • The examination of the differences between the early modernist movements of realism, symbolism, expressionism, surrealism, futurism, and dadaism bas been places in a feature box that contrasts all the different features of each.
  • Chapters 13-17 have been revised to include a series of questions to help students attending a performance more fully consider and analyze the work of the different theatre artists.
  • More "Practitioners and Theorists" boxes have been added to the later chapters to give students more perspectives on the different kinds of designers - scene, costume and makeup.
  • At least 30 images have been added, and create a brighter, more contemporary and contextual setting.
  • "Theatre in a Broad Context" timelines in many chapters to help provide cultural and historical context to the changes and developments in the theatre.
  • Complete scripts of fourteen in-depth examples cited in the text are included in the companion anthology, PLAYS FOR THE THEATRE, Enhanced Tenth Edition. Plays for the theatre has been updated with three new plays, August Wilson's "Fences," "Tony Kushner's "Angels in America, Part I: Millennium Approaches," and Sam Shepard's "True West."
  • For the first time, The Essential Theatre will be offered with a robust CourseMate, include a downloadable ebook version of the text.
  • The text introduces students to many aspects of theatre as a form of art, including critical approaches to theatre, script analysis, the various forms that theatre has taken in the past and the present, and a description of how each of the theatre's arts functions as a part of the total production.
  • Integrated synopses of plays--referencing those that appear in the companion anthology--prepare students for analyzing the complete pieces by identifying basic elements and highlighting things to look for when reading. In turn, the complete scripts serve as a foundation for the text's explorations of the types of theatrical experience.
  • Categorized, color-coded boxes bring the theatre to life by highlighting a variety of people, practices, concepts, and events related to the historical and contemporary theatre.
1. The Nature of Theatre.
2. The Audience and Criticism.
3. The Play.
PART II: Varieties of Theatrical Experience.
4. Festival Theatre: Greek, Roman, and Medieval Theatre Experiences.
5. Creating a Professional Theatre: Elizabethan England, Italian Commedia dell'Arte, and Seventeenth-Century France.
6. From Romanticism to Realism.
7. Modernism and Its Effect: 1885–1960.
8. Decentralization and Subsidization: New Directions.
9. Contemporary Theatre and Its Diversity.
10. Asian and African Theatre.
11. Theatrical Space and Production Design.
12. Playwriting and Dramaturgy.
13. Directing and Producing.
14. Acting.
15. Scene Design.
16. Costume Design and Makeup.
17. Lighting and Sound Design.

Textbook Only Options

Traditional eBook and Print Options

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  • ISBN-10: 1285702964
  • ISBN-13: 9781285702964
  • STARTING AT $23.99

  • STARTING AT $34.49

  • ISBN-10: 1133307280
  • ISBN-13: 9781133307280
  • Bookstore Wholesale Price $172.75
  • RETAIL $229.95

Cengage provides a range of supplements that are updated in coordination with the main title selection. For more information about these supplements, contact your Learning Consultant.


Instructor’s Resource Manual

ISBN: 9781285080451
The Instructor's Manual contains resources designed to streamline and maximize the effectiveness of your course preparation. This helpful manual includes a chapter-by-chapter variety of activities to correspond to the concepts presented in the core text. Each chapter includes terminology, chapter outlines, discussion questions, quiz questions, and suggested activities. All activities and exercises have been class-tested for optimal effectiveness in the classroom.

CourseMate Instant Access, Enhanced

ISBN: 9781285080840
Cengage Learning's Theatre CourseMate brings course concepts to life with interactive learning, study, and exam preparation tools that support the printed textbook, including Theatre Workshop. Theatre Workshop is a series of activities that include clips and images from live theatre performances, accompanied by critical thinking questions. In addition to interactive teaching and learning tools, CourseMate includes an interactive eBook. Students can take notes, highlight, and search. Use it as a supplement to the printed text, or as a substitute—the choice is your students' with CourseMate. Theatre CourseMate goes beyond the book to deliver what you need!


CourseMate Instant Access, Enhanced

ISBN: 9781285080840
Cengage Learning's CourseMate brings course concepts to life with interactive learning, study, and exam preparation tools that support the printed textbook. Maximize your course success with the integrated eBook and chapter-specific learning tools that include flashcards, quizzes, videos, and more in your CourseMate. Key Features: Interactive eBook, Engagement Tracker, Learning Objectives, Tutorial Quizzes, Glossary and Flashcards, and Web Links and References.