Earlier in the season I wrote a Critic's Notebook examining the difficulty dramatists were having in defining the terms of contemporary drama for an audience that seemed as uncertain about what constitutes a good play as they are. But I ended on an optimistic note, stressing that this uneven body of new American work will be a great aid in helping playwrights to reimagine the future.
One theater commentator mistook me for calling for a return to the well-made play. But my point was about the value of theatrical traditions, not dramatic formulas. Playwrights are their own legislators, yet they will never thrive working in a void in which every time they sit down before their computer screens they're charged with reinventing the wheel. The density of new work on Broadway in the last year goes a long way toward improving the long-term outlook.
This season may not have given us a masterpiece of the level of "A Streetcar Named Desire"or "Death of a Salesman," both of which are once again back on Broadway. "Clybourne Park" performs a cunning dissection of racial hypocrisy; "Other Desert Cities" uncovers the manifold ironies of our political self-righteousness. Will they be revived as often as these classics by Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller? Highly doubtful.
You can read the whole thing here.