The Dramatic Imagination, by Robert Edmond Jones

May 5, 2011 at 14:45 (Book Reviews, Highly Rated Books, Theatre Theory) (, , , )


Without any prior experience in theatrical design, this might have been a bold book to attempt.  Attention has been called to Jones’ rather inaccessible style, and his tendency to wax lyrical and quote extravagantly from a hundred different dramaturgs and playwrights. He brooks little compromise in his vision of what good theatre ought to look like, and is unyielding in his opinions, which are freely given throughout. They are also extremely attractive, and he expounds his passion convincingly and with impressive fervour.

The overwhelming feel of this book is that of an old prophet calling out to a world gone astray; an artist who is the last of his kind, urgently touting the values of a craft soon to be lost. Jones inspires great feelings of worthiness and nobility in his writing, and it is impossible not to feel kindly disposed towards him. This book is a pleasure to read, although it is almost solely directed towards committed students of the theatre, and a great deal of its subtlety remains difficult to grasp.

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