Today's successful plays and playwrights achieve their prominence not simply because of their intrinsic merit but because of the work of mediators, who influence the whole trajectory of a playwright's or a theatre company's career. Critics and academic writers are primarily considered the makers of reputations, but funding organizations and various media agents as well as artistic directors, producers, and directors also pursue separate agendas in shaping the reputations of theatrical works. In The Making of Theatrical Reputations Yael Zarhy-Levo demonstrates the processes through which these mediatory practices by key authority figures situate theatrical companies and playwrights within cultural and historical memory.
To reveal how these authorizing powers-that-be promote theatrical events, companies, and playwrights, Zarhy-Levo presents four detailed case studies that reflect various angles of the modern London theatre. In the case of the English Stage Company's production of John Osborne's Look Back in Anger, she centers on a specific event. She then focuses on the trajectory of a single company, the Theatre Workshop, particularly through its first decade at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London. Next, she explores the career of the dramatist John Arden, especially its first ten years, in part drawing upon an interview with Arden and his wife, actress and playwright Margaretta D'Arcy, before turning to her fourth study: the playwright Harold Pinter's shifting reputation throughout the different phases of his career.
Zarhy-Levo's accounts of these theatrical events, companies, and playwrights through the prism of mediation bring fresh insights to these landmark productions and their creators.