Unlike other introductory theatre textbooks that are often written for theatre majors and assume a considerable amount of previous knowledge, this text is designed for the general education student in college - one who may not be familiar with very many plays and has only seen a limited number of theatre productions. Because it can be difficult to make references to works that students are already familiar with, this text focuses on just four plays: the tragedy Macbeth, the American classic Our Town, the landmark African American drama A Raisin in the Sun, and the contemporary rock musical Rent. At the beginning of the text, each play is described with plot synopses (and suggested video versions), and then these four representative works are referred to throughout the book. By using these four model plays, this textbook aims to inform the student about theatre arts, stimulate interest in the art form, lead to critical thinking about theatre, and prepare the student to be a more informed and critical theatregoer. The textbook looks at both the theoretical and practical aspects of theatre arts, from the nature of theatre and drama to how it reflects society to explaining the processes that playwrights, actors, designers, directors, producers, and critics go through. Finally, the textbook addresses students as contemporary theatregoers and offers ways in which to better view a theatre production, to discuss it critically, and to do a written evaluation of a theatre event. Structured into seven chapters, each looking at a major area or artist - and concluding with the audience and the students themselves - this unique approach to theatre thoroughly addresses all of the major topics to be found in an introduction to theatre text.