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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

King of Shadows (Susan Cooper)

A short and lovely children's story. Nat travels to London to perform in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the replica of the Globe theater. Barely into rehearsals, he wakes up on a straw mattress in the London of four hundred years ago and finds himself cast as Puck in a revival of the play for Queen Elizabeth.

Of course it's frightening to be translated so far into the past, but in many ways, this is a gift beyond compare for an aspiring actor. To be able to meet William Shakespeare? To perform under the direction of William Shakespeare??

What most comes through in this story is the love for the theater - not from the audience, but the love from the actor's view - the quarrels backstage, the desperate ad libbing to keep the performance going, the delivery of lines directly to a stunned observer in the audience. I was never a theater person, but King of Shadows brings to life that wonder and excitement which actors - and all those in an acting company - surely feel as they prepare and perform their plays.

Ms. Susan Cooper, of course, is also the author of the much more well-known Dark Is Rising series (see my recommendation here).


Joel said...

I agree that it is definitely a good book. I'm glad you enjoyed it enough to recommend it! I'm not sure why I didn't post a recommendation, because I should have. :)

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Mister Troll said...

Ah... having power is so satisfying.

Lana said...

I was a little bit of a theater kid (more a wannabe theater kid than anything), and I think you've really hit the nail on the head. One of the most powerful aspects of this story is the wonderful capture of backstage theater-land.

I've linked to your post from my review here:


Mister Troll said...

Thanks for stopping by!