Summer Reading Roundup

As libraries and book stores roll out their lists of summer reading, I thought it would be a great time to round up some recommended reading from the Undermain blog. Throughout 2013, we’ve managed to get a good amount of reading done. So if you’re spending the summer looking for great new books, consider your work done for you. The list may not include any typical beach reads, but you’ll be sure to find something great to while away a hot summer’s day.

Colleen Ahern


Plays One

Missing by Reza de Wet

What struck me almost immediately about Missing (and de Wet’s other work) was the palpable sexuality, which in her clever hand is worked such that the comic becomes dangerous, the earthy becomes mysterious, and vice-versa. ~Stephen Foglia

the flick

The Flick by Annie Baker

What you get with Baker these days is an extraordinarily fine-tuned sensitivity to quotidian human interaction…Baker shows you just how much there is to see if you look closely at people and places easily passed over. ~Stephen Foglia

the coast of utopia

The Coast of Utopia Trilogy by Tom Stoppard

As in his plays like Arcadia or Rock ‘n Roll, Stoppard crafts a layered story full of vibrant, witty characters, while tossing in plenty of insider humor for well-read readers/viewers. ~Colleen Ahern

Dead City

Dead City by Sheila Callaghan

Callaghan writes sharp, clever, quick-witted plays with characters who whip dialogue around to wound, comfort, amuse, and shield.  Her plays often move at breakneck pace before suddenly opening up into moments of tremendous deftness and subtlety. ~Dylan Key

Blood Wedding

Blood Wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca

This script has passion, betrayal, murder, revenge, loss, and tragedy all perfectly packaged and delivered in Lorca’s gorgeous poetic imagery. ~Kristen Kelso

Dr. Faustus

The Tragical History Of The Life And Death Of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

I love Marlowe.  He’s Shakespeare but better – the language is still wonderful, there’s still poetry, but he doesn’t fuck around.  It goes straight for the liver.  I like him very much.  I think he was a little crazy. ~Giva Taylor

Dublin Carol

Dublin Carol by Conor McPherson

McPherson’s characters deal with alcoholism, regret, estranged family ties, illness, infidelity, and the strength it takes to keep living. This morbid comedy sharply reminds us that at Christmas time, anything is possible…including misfortune. ~Miranda Parham

It’s like laughing in the face of death. ~ Bruce DuBose

Books on Theater


Rhythm in Drama by Kathleen George

Kathleen George’s 1980 study of rhythmic principals used by playwrights and directors…is ideal for students and theatre practitioners. ~Stephen Foglia


Speculations by Mac Wellman

Though this is technically an essay I’ve included Wellman’s treatise on the list. At 96 pages, it’s practically a book anyway. Stephen has been unpacking the essay on our blog for quite some time. (You can read his posts about it here, here, and here.) Speculations is free to read on Mac Wellman’s website.

acting the first 6

Acting: The First Six Lessons by Richard Boleslavsky

For an actor, Acting “The First Six Lessons” is a concise, basic guide to Stanislavki’s method through one of his most successful students, which would be valuable at any stage of a career. For directors, it provides unique examples of Boleslavky’s thought process when working with actors. For avid fans of the theater, it’s a short, easy read that gives insight into an actor’s process of preparing for a role. ~Brittany Johnson

Books on Creativity

In a recent post, Dylan recommended some great books on creativity. You can read the full article here.


The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp

Twyla Tharp…notes that you need to work damn hard to create a lifestyle habit of creativity, be it getting up before dawn, shuttering yourself off from the internet, and spending hours just working, possibly churning out plenty of crap before any inspiration reveals itself! ~Dylan Key


The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Julia Cameron…stresses the importance of clearing out space for creativity to happen.  The Artist’s Way focuses on two practices to promote creativity. ~Dylan Key


And Then, You Act:  Making Art in an Unpredictable World by Anne Bogart

The great theatre director Anne Bogart writes about the importance and difficulty of creating art in today’s technologically oversaturated world. She peers right into the dynamism between artists and the world we live in. ~Dylan Key