Wednesday, March 26, 2008

John Heilpern on how sometimes short plays, can make you come up, well...short.

Would $50 for 45 minutes (without intermission) make any difference had Ms. Churchill written a masterpiece? I say it would. And it wouldn’t. For a voluntary donation of 10 bucks, I just saw the Gustave Courbet exhibition at the Met, and I can tell you that if it comes to a choice between Ms. Churchill’s playlet and Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde, I know where I stand.

Look at it this way: A theatergoer usually likes to see a show with someone else, a spouse, a loving, patient partner, a date. That’s two tickets at $100 for 45 minutes right there. Then there might easily be dinner after the show. After all, there’s time. Make-a-night-of-it sort of thing. Compensate. Why not discuss the show with your loved one over a modest meal and a drink or two in a friendly atmosphere? Not to complain: That’s another $100-plus, unless you stick to first courses and pick.

You are now unhappy. Also, you finished discussing the extremely short play before you were even done with your insalata mista.

The night at the theater has left you dissatisfied. Traipsing home, you feel short-changed. You might think that you’ve been lectured by Ms. Churchill about lots of things you already know. You might even agree with David Mamet’s recent pronouncement in The Village Voice, titled “Why I Am No Longer a ‘Brain Dead Liberal.’” And it’s all because of the price-gouging, righteous anticapitalist Caryl Churchill.

DRUNK ENOUGH TO Say I Love You? is the least mature work I know of in Ms. Churchill’s considerable repertoire (which includes her 1983 Top Girls, to be revived at the Public later this season). Drunk Enough scarcely makes a play. It’s a stylized sketch, a sledgehammer rant, a glib political cartoon that arrives from London’s Royal Court Theatre much too late in the day

No comments: