Researching J also means researching her husband, R, and his career. Being twenty-one years older, his advent as an entertainer and theatrical manager nearly coincided with his future wife’s birth. Later, their showbiz careers were inextricably connected for the two decades preceding his death.
Going down all of these necessary by-roads and highways is one of the reasons I expect my research to take around five years.
RESEARCH NOTES WEEK 6:
VICTORY: Once again carving out “enough” time for my research.
HAPPY DISCOVERY: A three-page spread about R and his various theatrical and musical companies, in a 1910 issue of Lyceumite & Talent.
FRUSTRATION: Not being able to read all the things all at once.
Title: Laurence Olivier On Acting From Hamlet and Heathcliff to “Brideshead” and Marathon Man, Our Greatest Actor Candidly Discusses His Triumphant Career in an Extraordinary Examination of His Profession and Craft
Author: Laurence Olivier
Year Published: 1986 (A TOUCHSTONE BOOK)
Year Purchased: 1992
Source: A bookstore at an outlet mall.
About: Every actor, young or old, has something many things to learn from Olivier. If they say otherwise, they’re just in denial. Or ignorant. Perhaps I should strike a line through that as well and replace it with the (softer?) word naive. Nah. I’ll stand by my original assessment. Let’s move on to the good stuff. Even if you don’t care about the craft of acting (and have never been silly enough to work in or, sanity forbid, train for the theatre), On Acting is really entertaining. Part autobiography, part theatre/film history, and part textbook, it is a mixture that works. He exposes the thought processes behind his roles, but dishes enough behind-the-scenes stories to keep most people interested. It is superior to his traditional memoir, Confessions of an Actor.
Motivation: I was an acting student then; the cover blurb was an excellent sales person.
Times Read: 2 or 3
Random Excerpt/Page 65: “New actors, new waves, new ideas-it’s all been done before. What we forget is that every new generation is the modern man. We are only watching things repeated with different costumes, new settings, original surrounds. However we look at it, it is still the same jewel, shining from the crown, that was mined between 1564 and 1616.”
Happiness Scale: 10+++
Laurence Olivier, June 17, 1939 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Title: Tragic Muse Rachel of the Comedie-Francaise
Author: Rachel M. Brownstein
Year Published: 1993/This edition: 1995 (Duke University Press)
Year Purchased: 1999/2000
Source: Barnes & Noble clearance rack
About: Tragic Muse is more than a biography. As the title suggests, its subject met a sad end. An actress rising to stardom before burning out whilst still young? You don’t say. Sounds like familiar (and familiar and familiar) stuff. Trite. Fate as formulaic plot twist. Not quite. Continue reading →