All the World’s a Stage Fright: Mis­ad­ven­tures of a Clan­des­tine Critic

September 1, 2020

What if you wrote a series of arti­cles about what takes place on the oth­er side of the prosce­ni­um arch while in an actu­al pro­duc­tion?” pro­posed Mark, the Assis­tant Man­ag­ing Edi­tor of the Cleve­land Jew­ish Chron­i­cle, the week­ly news­pa­per that hired me as its the­ater crit­ic. You know, do a Plimp­ton.” So begins All the World’s a Stage Fright, a laugh-out-loud fic­tion­al mem­oir about a clan­des­tine crit­ic embed­ded in a pro­fes­sion­al pro­duc­tion of As You Like It with the intent of dri­ving up the paper’s read­er­ship. Soon the stunt becomes one man’s per­son­al bat­tle with the Bard, his anti-Semit­ic con­tent, his infu­ri­at­ing iambic pen­tame­ter verse and shar­ing the stage with actors he has panned in the past results in more of a sto­ry than Ash­er Kauf­man expect­ed. Full of twists and turns, endear­ing char­ac­ters, and behind-the-cur­tain action, All the World’s a Stage Fright is a fun-filled and fast-paced novel­la. It is writ­ten for those who love the­ater and, per­haps, need Shake­speare’s gor­geous prose and poet­ry now more than ever.

Discussion Questions

Cour­tesy of Bob Abelman

  1. What was the inspi­ra­tion for ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE FRIGHT?

  2. This book is a fic­tion­al­ized mem­oir. What does that mean?

  3. Why this book now?

  4. Why write a novel­la rather than a full-length novel?

  5. How did being a the­ater crit­ic in life impact on the writ­ing process for this book?

  6. Why does the book take place in Cleveland?

  7. Why an arts crit­ic as your protagonist?

  8. Your book address­es whether or not Shake­speare was anti-Semit­ic. Was he?

  9. Do you have a favorite chapter?

  10. Do you think there should be a sequel in the works?