By Thomas S. Hischak
Quantity 4 of the celebrated American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama sequence bargains an intensive, candid, and interesting examine the theater in big apple over the past a long time of the 20 th century.
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Extra resources for American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama, 1969-2000
The women were callously funny, Richardson was a delicious dandy, and Gielgud’s restrained and tormented Harry was a brilliant piece of subtlety. At one point, as Washbourne derides him and exposes his grimy past, Gielgud with perfect manners hides his grief, and only a lone tear streaking down his cheek gives his tormented soul away. As expected, critics concentrated on the actors and heaped superlatives on all ﬁve. Some praised the play (“the most extraordinary piece of theatre in years”), but others were not impressed (“like Beckett without the anguished poetry, like Pinter without the tension”).
But the play was no Love Story at the box ofﬁce, and it struggled on for ﬁfty-three performances. Ibsen was represented for a third time on Broadway this season with the Lincoln Center revival of An Enemy of the People on March 11 in the Vivian Beaumont, using Arthur Miller’s 1950 adaptation. Jules Irving directed, and the solid production was greeted with respectful if unen- thusiastic reviews. Stephen Elliott’s Dr. Stockmann was commended, and Philip Bosco, as was often the case, shone in a supporting role, this time as the mayor, Peter Stockmann.
R. ’s ﬁrst full-length comedy, was as promising as his previous one-acts, though still somewhat unsatisfying. The evening was comprised of eight actors playing a multitude of characters in thirty-six sketches that covered various aspects of Americana over the decades, even going into the future to show an authoritarian 1980s. The show was loosely structured with no chronological logic to it, the result being a panorama of hypocritical adults and frustrated youths that was quite potent at times.