Well, at long last, after almost 27 years at the BHP, including 18 years of apprenticeship with Milton, 15 years of teaching, and 8 years writing essays for this blog, I have endeavored to capture the whole enchilada of that experience into a book that has just been released: “The Oasis of Insanity.”
The Official Blurb reads, “Upon the recommendation of a pretty girl, a young Harvard grad reports to a small theatre on a chilly November evening in Los Angeles to begin an acting class. So begins his unique apprenticeship with a brilliant and temperamental teacher, an apprenticeship lasting fully 18 years until that young student takes over the school upon the master’s death. The apprentice is Allen Barton, today an established Los Angeles director, teacher and playwright. The master is Milton Katselas, one of the most renowned acting teachers of his era. The school is the Beverly Hills Playhouse, the famed training ground for thousands of working actors over the last 40 years. ‘The Oasis of Insanity’ is Barton’s story of his coming of age under Katselas’ unique tutelage, as well as his own valuable guidebook to the study and pursuit of acting in the 21st century.”
Part 1 is an episodic memoir of my time with Milton, which I hope is in equal parts an entertaining, informative and honest appraisal of one of our field’s great teachers and provocative personalities. Part 2 is a collection of essays — many rewritten, reorganized, condensed, or expanded from this blog — and many written brand new for the book. They have been organized into four groups: On Acting, On Study, On Administration, and On Life as an Actor. As a whole, I hope the book presents accurately the current world of the actor, inclusive of the culture and history associated specifically with the Beverly Hills Playhouse.