A theatrical career formed
by sheer coincidences…or were they?
How—step by step and break by lucky break—Robert Cohen became a master of theatre arts.

“Robert Cohen’s Falling Into Theatre is a must-read for all lovers of theatre. Personal and engaging, Dr. Cohen’s reflections on his life as both artist and educator provide the reader with a special journey, a virtual history tour of the American theatre for the past fifty years. His personal experiences are a constant reminder of how love and passion for theatre continue to inspire us and enrich our lives.” —Stacy Keach

This fascinating memoir is presented as a series of seventeen lucky breaks, or surprise turning points in the path that led to Robert Cohen’s dramatic success in theatre arts. In retrospect, it would have seemed a greater accident if Cohen had not ended up in theatre arts, given his early fascination with the stage, his chance to see original cast productions of Broadway plays, and the influence of his uncle, Marty Goldblatt, a publicist for Columbia Pictures who hobnobbed with celebrities of stage and screen.

Perhaps the greatest break (#8) happened while Cohen was studying political science at the University of California, Berkeley. He suffered a medical emergency, which forced him to be quiet, still, and alone for enough time to think about what he really wanted to do with his life.

It was inevitable; Robert Cohen abandoned his plans to practice law and instead became a man of the theatre, not only acting on stage, but also in a full range of backstage and off-stage roles, including director, stage manager, set designer, and playwright. He has also enjoyed a distinguished career as a professor of stagecraft and the builder from the ground up of the University of California at Irvine’s prestigious drama department and student repertory theatre. He has written important textbooks on acting and on the acting career (Acting Power); and he has become an internationally respected drama theorist (the Cybernetic Acting Theory). Robert Cohen is widely considered one of the most prominent theatre professors of the Western world.

Falling Into Theatre…and Finding Myself
is the story of Robert Cohen’s life and career, in his own words and his own engaging style. Entertaining, anecdotal, and deliciously name-dropping, the book is more than just a story of one multi-talented man. It is also an eye-witness account of how theatre arts, both in practice and in theory, have developed over the past five decades and more.

Robert Cohen, founding Chair of Drama at the University of California, Irvine, has also lectured and taught in twenty-five states and ten foreign countries, and his twenty books on theatre have been published in fifty editions and translated into six languages.


Falling into Theatre…and Finding Myself
A Memoir

Robert Cohen
240 pages, paperback, $15.95
Publication date: October 6, 2014

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