Late theatre professor’s book rated number one on Amazon: His lasting legacy

Late theatre professor’s book rated number one on Amazon: His lasting legacy

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On October 3, 2107, Drury University professor of theatre Dr. Robin Schraft passed away after a battle with cancer. On January 19, 2018, his book, The Director’s Toolkit, was published. Now in February, Schraft’s book was rated “#1 New Release in TV Direction and Production” by Amazon.

Based on over 40 years of experience, Schraft details in The Director’s Toolkit what it takes to be a successful director and things to consider throughout the directing process.

Former students of Schraft share in the excitement of the book’s release and ratings. Schraft’s wife Liz helped to edit the book in the early stages.

“This book is Rob’s legacy. It is a beautiful tribute to his work and the work of you, his students. I will never forget the joy on his face when he saw his ISBN number and knew that his life’s work would live on forever,” she said.

Liz Schraft believes that the best way to describe the book is the preface that Robin Schraft wrote himself.

“Numerous texts on directing exist, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, so why another one? Over the years I have been unable to find a text for my directing classes that follows my comprehensive agenda. What I was looking for was a book that addressed the full range of the director’s functions, including working with the production staff, the rehearsal process, and the actors in the order of the production process. This book’s content is based on my more than 40 years of experience as a director and designer in both commercial and academic theatre. It reflects my philosophy that a director should be conversant with all aspects of theatre and the director must be able to synthesize the work of all members of the production into the final product. To do so, the director must have an empathic understanding of each discipline.”

“I find the process of taking a script, carefully analyzing it, developing a production concept, and working with my design team and my actors to bring this script to life, exhilarating. For me, the joy of sitting in the back of the house watching the audience experiencing my production and seeing their reactions is not found in any other aspect of theatre. Directors are by nature a strange lot. While they appear to control the production, in reality they are guiding all of the other artists toward a final product. Once the product is reached they simply fade away. Their work is only experienced by the audience through the work of others. The delicate bal­ance between the artistic vision of the director and the implementation of this vision through the creative work of the collaborators is the essential joy of directing. Each time I return to the stage as a performer, while I am happy to be there, I find myself longing to be in the house experiencing the process from the perspective of the audience. I find no greater joy than in seeing the production concept conceived at the beginning of the process become a reality in performance. I hope you as a director can find such joy.”

We believe your students found such joy in you and your instruction, Dr. Schraft, and we are proud that your legacy will live on in this text.

The Director’s Toolkit is available for purchase on Amazon.

Article written by Mady McColm

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