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The Cambridge guide to world theatre /

Other Authors: Banham, Martin.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Cambridge [England] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1988
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Review by Choice Review

Truly encyclopedic in scope and worldwide in its breadth, this work presents much valuable information in one alphabetical listing about theater--historical, present day, stage, and television--and theater people, etc. Bibliographies extend the substance of most general and national entries; cross-references (indicated by boldface within entries) are used extensively; name entries (e.g., for actors, theater organizations) seem to encompass any and all names of merit. The introduction states that the work purports to offer "a comprehensive view of the history and present practice of theatre in all parts of the world." It appears to succeed. There are entries on the theatrical traditions of better-known nations; but included also are lengthy items, for example, for Oceania, the Middle East, modern Southeast Asia, Peru, India, Korea, Nigeria, and Tanzania, world areas about which generally less is usually included in any one-volume compendium. An interesting list of 37 "less obvious entries" found in the introductory pages illustrates the work's breadth: for example, Academic Theatre in the US; Gay Theatre; Theatrical Training in the US; Animal Impersonation; Cabaret; Wild West Exhibitions; Censorship; Sound; Dramatic Theory. All entries are signed. The vast array of topics covered does not imply a surface treatment of those topics; many entries are full-column, full-page, or multi-page in length. This work updates and appears to expand considerably upon what is found in similar, standard publications such as The Oxford Companion to the Theatre, ed. by Phyllis Hartnoll (4th ed., CH, Apr '84) and Peter Thomson's The Everyman Companion to the Theatre (1985). Enthusiastically recommended for all undergraduate collections. -R. G. Stephen, Rider College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

These two works aim to fill a need formerly met only by the Oxford Companion to the Theatre ( LJ 1/84 , 4th ed.). The Facts on File Dictionary is a slim volume with an ill-defined focus. While the promotional material advertises it as a comprehensive guide to the history of world drama, the introduction describes it as a ``dictionary of modern British and American theatre.'' Even within those limits, it falls short. Recent works of many prominent figures are not listed, and a number of Off-Broadway and avant-garde playwrights do not appear at all. The cross-reference system is inadequate. Entries for individual plays are a distinctive feature, but the short descriptions are virtually useless, and such information is readily available elsewhere. Not a necessary purchase. The Cambridge Guide is not only attractive but comprehensive. In addition to entries on actors, playwrights, and theaters, lengthy articles on theater in individual countries provide an overview of world drama. Contemporary figures, e.g., Maria Irene Fornes and Charles Ludlam, are included, and numerous illustrations appear within the text. Furthermore, such unusual entries as ``Gay Theatre'' and ``Animals as Performers'' supply a broad perspective not usually found in dictionaries. This is an authoritative work that also provides delightful browsing for theater aficionados. Most collections will want to add this for its currency and comprehensiveness even if they already own the Oxford Companion .-- Susan Thach Dean, Chicago P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.