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Theatre Paperback – March 13, 2001
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Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
"Theater" is the story of Julia Lambert, the best and deservingly famous stage actress in England. On stage she is a true master of her craft, she is great in playing every possible human feeling and emotion. Off stage, however, she is not very happy with her handsome but not too bright husband; she does not have close relationship with her teenager son. At first, amused and touched by the adoration of a young fan, she eventually falls madly in love and lives through the real feelings and emotions that she was so great in playing on stage. How she deals with love, jealousy, anger, loneliness, aging - that's what "Theater" is about. She was able to take her revenge and punish her unfaithful lover, not only as a woman but what is more important, as an artist, and that was absolutely brilliant. Masterfully told story with delightful main character - talented, witty, charming, and very clever, "Theater" is an enjoyable, insightful, and honest portrait of a woman and an artist.
Theater is just this kind of book. It’s the simple tale of an actress and an affair and what it teachers her about herself and the world she has chosen. There is no great moral of this story. There is no epic struggle for good against wrong. There is no hero, or heroine. There are just people, making decisions as people are wont to do – good decisions and bad decisions alike – as they seek from their lives a greater significance or a lesser tedium.
Of course a story like this takes great skill to write – and Maugham does it easily.
As I read this story, surrounded as I was by the magnificent Rocky Mountains in a lovely village tucked away from great significance, I wondered if I could write such a novel. I am, perhaps – ok probably – not a great writer like Maugham. Nevertheless, inspired by a simple story and against the backdrop of the fresh clarity all around, I decided I must give it a try. I hope I can find the words that refresh and soothe; as has W. Somerset Maugham in Theater.
Maugham has a remarkable ability to write compelling scenes that avoid melodrama and predictability. His years as a comic playwright served him well as a story teller. I find him one of the easiest to read of great (or near great) fiction writers. He keeps you turning the pages and avoids longeurs.
Maugham's view of human nature is tawdry -- some might say filthy. He believed a a perfectly respectable woman was capable of an episode of cheap sex in a sleeping car on a train. He certainly shows no Victorian sentimentality about the fairer sex.
I won't give away the ending, but it is the oddest scene in the novel. The ending is original to the point of peculiarity. Maugham believes the artist is the only truly free person because he can use his pain to create art. I don't think being an artist helped Maugham find happiness at the end of his own long life.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of Maugham's lesser known novels. You'll be entertained while "escaping" into a good story while immersed in a classic must-read.Published 4 months ago by New Yorker
Theatre by William Somerset Maugham
emotion recollected in tranquility*
A key scene in 'Theatre' William Somerset Maugham's story where acting and reality... Read more
What an excellent read and what a well-done protagonist. I was completely taken by the writing in this novel. Read morePublished 23 months ago by newriverreader
My first time reading a story by Maugham. I really enjoyed the story and it was very well written. I would recommend this book to my friends.Published on June 1, 2014 by Stephen A Garcia
This wonderful novel was published in 1937, when W. Somerset Maugham was already an extremely successful writer – both as a novelist and in the theatre. Read morePublished on December 24, 2013 by S Riaz
There's nothing to review about great classics. This book should be named a life bible! I've read it three times in Russian ( my native language ) and so thrilled to discover it... Read morePublished on December 8, 2013 by vera petrychenka
I continue to be amazed by Somerset Maugham's art as a writer. Why has he been forgotten? Beats me. RussellPublished on November 20, 2013 by Russell Traughber
Maugham is the true classic who knows how to write life. I won't retell what happened in the book because it's a pretty well-known novel, but I was surprised to discover how young... Read morePublished on October 1, 2013 by I P
I have yet to be disappointed with any Maugham novel. Theatre tells the story of an accomplished stage actress who can not or will not turn off the acting when she's off stage. Read morePublished on July 30, 2013 by Fred M. Jeffers