Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Review: Full Moon Stages by Judith Malina

As cofounder of the internationally-known, highly-controversial radical political troupe, The Living Theater, author Judith Malina is one of the leading female countercultural figures of the 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. in FULL MOON STAGES: PERSONAL NOTES FROM 50 YEARS OF THE LIVING THEATRE, she creates an intimate memoir in a unique format with a collection of personal notes written on every full moon for 50 years from 1964 to 2014. These never-before-published entries reveal Malina's most private thoughts and inform the reader on what The Living Theatre was performing as they wound their way from New York City to Italy, France, Belgium, Germany and Brazil in a nomadic series of notable performances of such underground classics as The Brig, The Connection, and Paradise Now. Malina is relentless in her commitment to the full moon schedule, writing regardless of her current life circumstance. Notes issue forth from hotels, trains—even prison, offering a light on the consequences of holding true to her code of the theatrical expression of her pacifist-anarchist principles. The book's format is well-suited for modern readers interested in history of the counterculture. In addition, the book includes 30+ rare historical photos from Living Theatre archives.

Received for review.

I am not a theater person in any shape or form.  I don't just don't do plays.  However, this was an intriguing read.

"Read" is perhaps a bit strong since the book has an entry for each occurrence of the full moon for the fifty year span.  Most of the time it's just a line or two but the book is formatted almost like a scrapbook with plenty of pictures illustrating the entries so it feels more cohesive.

Overall, this was a fast, entertaining read.  Each snippet was a snapshot of the author's life at the time and it was nice to see all her activities.  Though the entries do become quite sad at the end the vast majority are upbeat.  If you are interested in theater then this may be a quality read for you.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It


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