Thursday, October 23, 2008

Where We Would We Be

..without the New Yorker Theatre Pages.

For instance, without them, I would never have realized that Sarah Ruhl is this nation's combination of Italo Calvino and Ovid, and I would have lived the rest of my life under the the childish illusion that Arthur Miller was anything other than the biggest hack in the history of the American stage.

Here Hilton Als tells the foolish that they should thank All My Sons director Simon McBurney for his conceptual stylings:


McBurney isn’t overemphasizing the play’s theatricality—he’s giving the production the only theatricality it has. Reading Miller’s works, one gets the sense that he didn’t approve of theatre per se; it was too frivolous an enterprise for him, so he had to kill the spectacle with meaning. By filtering Miller’s flat world through his own vision, McBurney gives us the distance we need from Miller’s agitprop; he also relieves the text of some of its finger-pointing.

(...)

What a pity that Miller had to write so many plays—a form that did not come naturally to him—in order to inspire our interest in his work in the one genre at which he excelled: the memoir.

3 comments:

Freeman said...

Jesus. H. Christ.

Thomas Garvey said...

Yeah, I read that article with disbelief. Als is basically useless, and Lahr is pretty hit-or-miss, too. But then the New Yorker is now studded with creamily articulate but essentially unreliable critics. It's a fun read, but only superficially - it's like a literary form of ice cream or chocolate sauce. As for Arthur Miller - why is he still the target of so much hostility from academics and the critical establishment? It's bizarre. I've seen "All My Sons" (not this production), and it is a very solidly crafted and moving piece that is quite appropriate to our current situation. We could use a production of it in Boston.

Art said...

I know.

A few years ago I did see a very good, very minimal production by the ART Institute.

Very simple. Just chairs, a raised rear platform and good acting.