How to Read a Play is an introductory guide to the art of translating the printed page of a play or screenplay into dramatic mental images; it has been a classic among actors, directors, and writers for the past twenty years. Now fully updated and revised, the books devotes a chapter exclusively to screenplays, noting the intrinsic differences between a screenplay and a playscript and thus bringing this invaluable classic up to date.
How should we read stage directions? How can we imagine the theatrical impact of a sound effect? Of silence? What about the effect of colors, costumes, groupings, relative positions on the stage? Are characters sometimes saying something different from what their words say? In the course of answering these and many more questions, Hayman talks about the use of space, momentum, and suspense, the silence under the words, identity and character, irony and ambiguity, meaning and experience -- in short, all the elements that give life to the printed page as much as a musical performance does to a printed score. How to Read a Play is an essential guidebook to the art of drama.