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August 30 , 2010

The Piscator Notebook


'Theater legend Malina has written one of the most interesting studies of the avant-garde theatrical movement published in the last several years.' – CHOICE

Judith Malina and The Living Theatre have been icons of political theatre for over six decades. What few realise is that she originally studied under one of the giants of twentieth century culture, Erwin Piscator, in his Dramatic Workshop at The New School in New York. Piscator founded the Workshop after emigrating to New York, having collaborated with Brecht to create "epic theatre" in Germany.

The Piscator Notebook documents Malina’s intensive and idiosyncratic training at Piscator’s school. Part diary, part theatrical treatise, this unique and inspiring volume combines:

  • complete transcriptions of Malina’s diaries from her time as a student at the Dramatic Workshop, as well as reproductions of various of Piscator’s syllabi and teaching materials;
  • notes on Malina’s teachers, fellow students – including Marlon Brando and Tennessee Williams – and New School productions;
  • studies of Piscator’s process and influence, along with a new essay on the relationship between his teaching, Malina’s work with the Living Theatre and "The Ongoing Epic";
  • an introduction by performance pioneer, Richard Schechner.

The Piscator Notebook is a compelling record of the genealogy of political theatre practice in the early 20th Century, from Europe to the US. But it is also a stunningly personal reflection on the pleasures and challenges of learning about theatre, charged with essential insights for the student and teacher, actor and director.

'Piscator is the greatest theatre man of our time.' – Bertolt Brecht

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