From Publishers Weekly
In his elegaic history of the 1960s off-off-Broadway movement, Bottoms focuses on New Yorks four leading "OOB" theaters: Caffe Cino, the Judson Poets Theater, La Mama and Theatre Genesis. The author, a professor in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies at the University of Glasgow, emphasizes that there was never a core leadership and scarcely a discernible movement, but simply a swelling desire among primarily young people for freedom of expression in the "geographic proximity" of Manhattans Greenwich Village and East Village. He cheers the restored importance of the playwright. Featured players in this countercultural phenomenon include playwright Edward Albee, eccentric actress Julie Bovasso, the amiable coffee-house proprietor Joseph Cino, the wonderful Ellen Stewart and her La Mama Troupe. An appendix lists notable productions and events of the period. While this study will be of most interest to older theater lovers, younger fans will also appreciate this comprehensive look at a significant chapter in recent American theater history. Photos not seen by PW.
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"Bottoms clears a path through what was always a wildly overgrown grove.... The discoveries he makes along the way force us to rethink our understanding.... Bottoms's book, written with enormous intelligence, dexterity, and passion, should be read by the current generation of radical theater makers....." - Village Voice "Playing Underground... goes to almost archaeological ends to unearth OOB's underpinnings... we get a whiff of the addictive immediacy of The Scene, the sense of something (good or bad) constantly happening.... Freedom, both dangerous and exhilarating, defines Bottoms's prose." - American Theatre "Playing Underground does the great service of bringing these productions to life again, in all their hit-or-miss glory." - Theater"