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About David Ball
David Ball is an award-winning North Carolina novelist and playwright. He was born deep in New York's Catskill Mountains in 1942. His daddy and granddaddy were Prohibition era bootleggers, his mother an antiques dealer. His plays have been staged off-Broadway and in America's leading professional theaters. He taught writing, acting, and directing at Lawrence, Carnegie-Mellon, and Duke universities. For 28 years his book BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS has been one of the theater and film world's standard and best-selling texts for writers, directors, designers, and actors. His theater students have won Oscars, Emmies, Obies, and Tony awards. He was on the directing and writing staffs of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Stage Company and the Pittsburgh Public Theater, and North Carolina's Duke Stage Company. He has traversed the widest areas of North Carolina's deep swamps and lived to write about it. Brought up in Stamford, Connecticut, where the only swamps were social ones, he studied science and engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and later attended Alfred University, the University of Maryland, Catholic University in D.C., and the University of Minnesota, from which he holds a Ph.D. in theater and communication. In the late 60s he served in the Peace Corps (Afghanistan). So far his favorite job has been taxi driver in Connecticut, 1960-62,in which his motto was "Tip high, complain low." His historical novel SWAMP OUTLAW is based on extensive personal interviews with the lead characters' direct descendants, and his forays into their swamps. He is currently one of America's leading trial consultants and jury experts, and a best-selling trial advocacy author.
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Books By David Ball
Considered an essential text since its publication thirty-five years ago, this guide for students and practitioners of both theater and literature complements, rather than contradicts or repeats, traditional methods of literary analysis of scripts.
Ball developed his method during his work as literary director at the Guthrie Theater, building his guide on the crafts playwrights of every period and style use to make their plays stageworthy. The text is full of tools for students and practitioners to use as they investigate plot, character, theme, exposition, imagery, conflict, theatricality, and the other crucial parts of the superstructure of a play. Also included are guides for discovering what the playwright considers a play’ s most important elements, thus permitting interpretation based on the foundation of the play rather than its details.
Using Shakespeare’s Hamlet as illustration, Ball assures a familiar base for clarifying script-reading techniques as well as exemplifying the kinds of misinterpretation readers can fall prey to by ignoring the craft of the playwright. Of immense utility to those who want to put plays on the stage (actors, directors, designers, production specialists) Backwards & Forwards is also a fine playwriting manual because the structures it describes are the primary tools of the playwright.