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The Viewpoints Book: A Practical Guide to Viewpoints and Composition Paperback – August 1, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Anne Bogart is a director, teacher and co-founder of the SITI Company. Tina Landau, noted director and playwright, is best known for her collaboration with Adam Geuttel on Floyd Collins and is a past recipient of the Princess Grace Award. She has been an ensemble member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company since 1997.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Theatre Communications Group (August 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0873388283
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559362412
  • ASIN: 1559362413
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Brad on December 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
It took forever to finally arrive.. both in the sense that it kept getting delayed, but more importantly as a director who has trained with Viewpoints and wanted to impliment them into my work.

The book is very accessible to even those who have not taken any Viewpoints classes with a laid out ground plan for how to introduce each Viewpoint as well as how to use them in rehearsals and creating new pieces. The end of each section includes several options to eithe expand or replace, making the plan fit perfect for whatever you're doing. I read it cover to cover in a sitting and will be referencing it in the future as I direct those new to Viewpoints as well as those previously exposed.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By K.R.G. on January 11, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was highly recommended to me by a dancer friend, and I've found it to be extremely useful for dance improvisation sessions I'm leading with a group of non-dancers. The authors offers numerous exercises that groups can build on, experiment with, and use to generate skill and teamwork. If you're looking for inspiration for your own performance project or creative ideas for group activities, you will find them here.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By James E. Peerenboom on March 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
I wanted a good, basic look at Viewpoints and this book has been exactly what I hoped it would be. It is to the point but still offers enough explanation to make sure the reader understands each viewpoint. If you want a good, basic background of the work this book does well.
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Viewpoints is very much a primer on spacial awareness and spontaneous interaction.
Like any very basic "technique" or approach, and like like many 20th century American guides to theatrical performance, a major problem may lie in that its componentstents are delineated in a manner so simplistic, hyper-focused, and unrevealing of its purpose or endgame that it can have the effect of encouraging effort and difficulty where ideally, there should and might otherwise be none, and that probably endangers as many unproductive habits as it intends to alleviate.

While it might be life-changing for those without a regular movement practice, the emphasis on simple movement as a way through to ensemblework won't speak much to those who already have good movement or improvisation skills and for theorists and pedagogues, the book doesn't really reveal what the approach does differently from others or how its application is useful for creating or supporting the work of real performance.

If you have good, healthy physical awareness and control or training, you probably won't need viewpoints except to learn its specific vocabularies in order to work with others who use it. If you are a more advanced in the above areas and want more theory or a more comprehensive approach to creating organic group and work, many other works are probably much more essential and helpful to start or to grow with. Start by studying artists and approaches from post-WWII Europe or Chicago Improv or, if you want something more practical or faster and for immediate and advanced application, take some contact improv and composition and Meisner courses.
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I have worked with both Anne Bogart and Tina Landau and grew to appreciate their unique approach. It is good to see their way of working in print finally. The book is a great resource for all who have some appreciation for what goes into making a piece of theatre. It will especially pique the interest of those who see the physical nature of the theatre as paramount. The book outlines an way to replicate the work of these two great theatre artists in their own process. Dancers and choreographers will perhaps find a new perspective on what they do in this book.
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The book is a useful source for training in acting and in dance. Exercises are suggested to improvise and explore in different ways, the basic elements that underlie all movement, which are time and space. Ideas of flow, force or shifts in weight (as in Laban)are not discussed, but the many ideas on ways to think about, to experiment and to experience relationships of bodies in space make this book a practical and a valuable guide.
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Aptly described in the title, "A Practical Guide to Viewpoints and Composition". Perfect for new and veteran artists alike. Great information about ensemble building as well as getting outside of your comfort zone. The kind of book to go back and re-read with every new project. You'll find yourself applying techniques consciously as well as unconsciously.
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