Carey Perloff, Artistic Director of San Francisco's legendary American Conservatory Theater, pens a lively and revealing memoir of her 20-plus years at the helm and delivers a provocative and impassioned manifesto for the role of live theater in today's technology-infused world.
Perloff's personal and professional journey - her life as a woman in a male-dominated profession, as a wife and mother, a playwright, director, producer, arts advocate, and citizen in a city erupting with enormous change - is a compelling, entertaining story for anyone interested in how theater gets made. She offers a behind-the-scenes perspective, including her intimate working experiences with well-known actors, directors, and writers, including Tom Stoppard, Harold Pinter, Robert Wilson, David Strathairn, and Olympia Dukakis.
Whether reminiscing about her turbulent first years as a young woman taking over an insolvent theater in crisis and transforming it into a thriving, world-class performance space, or ruminating on the potential for its future, Perloff takes on critical questions about arts education, cultural literacy, gender disparity, leadership, and power.
Carey Perloff is an award-winning playwright, theater director, and the artistic director of the American Conservatory Theater of San Francisco since 1992.
Fresh off a Tony Awards high, I could not wait to catch up on this backstage memoir of A.C.T.'s director Carey Perloff. In it, she grapples with both sexism, and career challenges while taking a foundering theater company in post-earthquake San Francisco to a trailblazing, nationally-recognized program.
More than the tribulations of home versus career, this is an introduction to the complex life in non-profit theater from fundraising to artistic vision, it's thrilling but unsparing in it's portrayal. From an esteemed stage actress who asks "have you had THAT CHILD yet?" days away from her delivery, and weeks away from tech rehearsals, to political, religious and media outrage at the company's choices.
Last, she looks forward to what it will take to survive in the new SanFrancisco where there are not only practical financial considerations, but the bohemian culture is in danger.
Narrating herself, Perloff has such a warm tone, and is so easy to listen to, I never wanted her to stop!
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