An ambitious attempt to give the story of how man arrived at the ""prolific and varied theatre we know today,"" this manages a comprehensive overview of the early development of drama from its campfire origins through the early nineteenth century. Starting with a look at the theatres of Greece and Rome, Mr. Fuller then moves east for a contrasting examination of the theatres of China, Japan and India. But he primarily traces western drama from the early Mystery Plays, and Morality Plays through the plays of the Italian Renaissance, Elizabethan Theatre, and French, German and Spanish dramatists. He describes the beginnings of contemporary American theatre and points up the various influences that changed the structure of drama from the romantic to the realistic. Throughout this section there is a discussion of styles, acting techniques, stage forms etc. along with excerpts from major works, short biographies of major playwrights and comparisons of the various schools. Mr. Fuller does not attempt to continue his overview after the latter part of the nineteenth century and confines his comments to major productions, personalities and playwrights. This section offers more anecdotal sketches than critical comment and Mr. Fuller tends to rather highhandedly dismiss some major influences i.e., The Method ""fine for some kinds of roles."" But as an introduction and reference for the neophyte, it will be extremely enjoyable.