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My new Harvey Weinstein-related column in Taki’s Magazine, “The Overlord of Oscar Bait,” argues that, just as Hollywood should no longer import chimpanzees to appear in movies like Bedtime for Bonzo because they can now be digitally simulated by putting Andy Serkis in a motion capture suit, we should consider banning professional child actors in the fairly near future. Perhaps acting ought to be a profession for adults to choose freely, rather than for children to be pressured into by their stage moms and dads? For example, you aren’t allowed to be a professional football player until roughly age 21, so maybe child acting could be restricted to amateur theatricals up through, say, age 18.

One of the funnier aspects of Hamlet is that in the same astonishing scene (II, ii) in which Hamlet delivers his “quintessence of dust” speech for the ages, Shakespeare, speaking through Hamlet, goes on to indulge in some extremely topical and local satire regarding the London stage fad c. 1600 for grown-up plays (including a couple by Ben Jonson) performed by all-child troupes. (This exchange is often cut to shorten the run-time of productions of Hamlet.)

Shakespeare, the theatrical businessman, is particularly annoyed that Jonson’s plays for child actors satirize adult actors (such as Shakespeare’s own mostly grown-up troupe):

Hamlet — Do they [i.e., Globe players] hold the same estimation they did when I was in the city? are they so followed?

Rosencrantz — No indeed they are not.

Hamlet — How comes it? do they grow rusty?

Rosencrantz — Nay, their endeavour keeps in the wonted pace: but there is sir, an aery [nest] of children, little eyases [eaglets], that cry out on the top of question, and are most tyrannically clapped for’t: these are now the fashion, and so berattle [i.e., abuse] the common stages – so they call them – that many wearing rapiers [i.e., gallants] are afraid of goose-quills [i.e., the satire of the boys' playwrights] and dare scarce come thither [i.e., to the public playhouses].

Hamlet — What, are they children? who maintains ‘em? how are they escoted [i. e., paid]? Will they pursue the quality [i. e., the profession of acting] no longer than they can sing [i. e., before their voices change]? will they not say afterwards, if they should grow to common players – as it is most like, if their means are no better – their writers do them wrong to make them exclaim against their own succession [i.e., the profession of public actor, to which they must shortly succeed].

This dialogue is often cut in productions of Hamlet to get the play over before midnight.

Also, in Tom Stoppard’s inversion of Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, it is pointedly implied that the impoverished mostly adult actors troupe that comes through Elsinore is not above — times being what they are (indifferent) — pimping out the youngest boy in their troupe for special private performances.

• Tags: Movies, Shakespeare, Stage 
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We’re all familiar with the literary conundrums of racial identity politics, having read countless personal essays in which members of nonwhite groups assert solidarity while almost simultaneously denouncing white people for assuming that members of their groups tend to have things in common.

But the glass of similarity really is both part full and part empty at the same time.

It’s not always easy to deal with the fact that none of us are wholly unique individuals, nor are we wholly the same as anybody else. It’s hardly surprising that individuals tends to lash out at other races in order to have somebody to blame for their problems.

Because race and family are both manifestations of genetic relatedness, the most striking examples of this paradox of identity are identical twins, some of whom deny that they are identical twins. For example, yesterday’s obituary in the New York Times for Sir Peter Shaffer (playwright of “Amadeus”) claims that he and Anthony Shaffer (playwright of “Sleuth”) were fraternal twins.

But many other sources list them as identical twins.

It’s not uncommon for twins to insist that various small differences prove they are fraternal rather than identical. For example, at the 2004 Olympics, the men’s all around gold in gymnastics was won by Paul Hamm, while his brother Morgan finished fifth. They had been told by their parents that they were fraternal rather than identical because their hair whorled in opposite directions.

Interestingly, there are no successful identity politics movements for twins. Nobody else feels Singleton Guilt for their Nontwin Privilege. Twins must deal with these paradoxes of relatedness and difference themselves and with their twins. The rest of the world doesn’t feel guilty about it.

Hyper-articulate twins like the Shaffer brothers can be pretty interesting in how they wrestle with these issues and each other. From The Guardian in 2007:

As the writers of such masterpieces as Amadeus and Sleuth, Peter and Anthony Shaffer became synonymous with the best of British drama. But it has emerged that the family name was once subject to the intense rivalry often seen in the brothers’ plays.

Unpublished letters written by Sir Peter in the 1960s reveal an obsessive jealousy over “the name thing”, with him repeatedly begging his twin to publish his plays under a pseudonym.

Sir Peter — having got a headstart as a playwright — feared that Anthony, who had worked as a barrister and in film advertising, was trampling on his territory.“I realise that all my life, until I was 32, I felt anonymous: feeble: unemployable: never an individual… I suppose a lot of it had to do with being a twin. One of ‘the boys’. Never quite unique,” he writes. “Now, in some hateful way… I do feel threatened. As if my little Kingdom has been invaded, and I am no longer to be The Playwright, but again part of that faintly cute and annihilating ‘Which one of them did it?’ ” In another passage, he implored: “Before it’s too late… I beg you to take another name for writing — make a Self which everyone will know as you — a glittering persona you can develop throughout the years. I will be Me; you will be You.”

Anthony, who died in 2001, continued to use the family name and went on to revolutionise the British stage thriller with Sleuth. He was nominated for an Oscar for the film version and wrote screenplays for the Alfred Hitchcock film Frenzy and The Wicker Man. Sir Peter, 80, is best known for Amadeus and Equus. Both were adapted for the cinema, with Amadeuswinning eight Oscars. A new production of Equus, about a boy who blinds horses, will open in the West End next month, with Daniel Radcliffe as the teenager.

Sir Peter was 32 before his first important play, Five Finger Exercise, was staged, while Anthony was in his forties when Sleuth became a hit.

The brothers wrote detective stories under the pen name of Peter Antony, and the letters discovered at Anthony’s London home suggest that they also collaborated on the farce Black Comedy, with Sir Peter referring to how his brother had “at least been paid something for all your good work on BC”.

But still he remained obsessed about their name. Irritated that the New York Post had wrongly credited him with Anyone for Murder, Sir Peter wrote: “It threw me into a sort of tizz … Let me spit it out, since it is … eating me … I feel in some horrid way threatened. I’m vain, I know. I quite like having my first name dropped in references to me, and am distressed if, to distinguish us, it has to be put back again.”

The twins spoke most days by phone, but since Anthony’s death, the family has been feuding over his literary estate.

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Back in 2008 it finally dawned on me that the popular phrases “white guilt” and “Jewish guilt” have functionally opposite meanings:

In other words, in the classic example of Jewish guilt, [Philip Roth's] Portnoy’s Complaint, Jewish guilt is the opposite of white guilt: Portnoy’s feelings of Jewish guilt stem not from his ancestors being too ethnocentric (as in “white guilt”) but from himself not being ethnocentric enough to please his ancestors. His parents make him feel guilty because he’s individualistically ignoring his racial duty to settle down and propagate the Jewish race.

Orwell’s 1984 emphasizes the difficulties humans have in thinking about phenomena for which they lack names, and the usefulness to power of constricted vocabularies. For example, Orwell explains that in the future The Party will have eradicated all the ideological terms in Thomas Jefferson’s vocabulary and replaced them with one word: “crimethink.”

That got me thinking about the virtual non-existence of the mirror image term to “anti-Semitism:” “anti-Gentilism.”

I used the New York Times’ search engine to discover that the last time the Times ever used the term “anti-Gentilism” was before I was born, in a review of a 1958 novel by the hard-working author Jerome Weidman, The Enemy Camp:

New York Times Book Review

June 15, 1958

“The Education of George Hurst”

The Enemy Camp, By Jerome Weidman, 561 pp. New York: Random House. $4.95

Reviewed by John Brooks

One of the most familiar starting-points of the great American success story is the lower East Side of New York City. From it have come a disproportionate number of our most illustrious citizens in business, finance, entertainment, the arts, science, politics — almost every field imaginable. A compelling aspect of the irresistible old story in this particular setting is that there is so often a special twist. The twist, of course, is the issue of religious prejudice: specifically, anti-Semitism and its opposite, anti-Gentilism.

As this sentence suggests, the existence of “anti-Gentilism” seems logically inevitable, given the much publicized existence of “anti-Semitism.” And yet the phrase hasn’t appeared in the New York Times in 57 years.

“The Enemy Camp,” a Book-of-the-Month Club selection for July, is a large, rich novel about anti-Gentilism, done in broad strokes, full of plot and exaggeration, and infused with considerable passion held in fine restraint. In much of Jerome Weidman’s earlier writing about young men on the make (like his memorable first novel, “I Can Get It for You Wholesale”), his heroes have seemed to be only fleetingly concerned with moral or ethical questions: the reader’s interest in them derived chiefly from their appalling singleness of purpose and the intricate techniques they use to advances themselves. In “The Enemy Camp” the situation is more complex. The hero has been divided into two men — one by nature moral, the other amoral. The clash between the two keeps the pot boiling.

The good boy is George Hurst, adopted from a Houston Street orphanage at the age of 3 by the proprietor of a tailor shop on East Fourth Street, a woman he comes call Aunt Tessie. … The bad boy is Danny Schoor (later Shaw), George’s childhood neighbor, pal and idol. The battle line of the neighborhood is all too clearly drawn: on one side of the street is Gerrity’s saloon, patronized by the Gentiles, the shutzkim — the enemy camp. On the other side, in a world of bagels and lox, live two kinds of Jews: those who, like Aunt Tessie, hate the shutzkim out of nothing less than a sense of mission, and those who, like Danny, make a vocation of currying the enemy’s favor in the interest of getting ahead.

… When Mr. Weidman’s largely bitter tale comes to its provisionally happy end, it is George, the good boy who would not traffic with shutzkim, who is happily married to one of the them and occupying a firm position in a relatively prejudice-free world; while Danny, the unscrupulous shutzkim-lover, is, for all his riches, still an outcast clawing for respectability. Does Mr. Weidman intend this as the final cosmic jest. He leaves it for us to judge.

This seems like a pretty reasonable book review, and it demonstrates that “anti-Gentilism” is a useful term for a public intellectual to have in his conceptual toolkit for describing the world, especially the part of the world centering on New York City.

But June 15, 1958 was the last time “anti-Gentilism” appeared in the New York Times. So I guess not.

Screenshot 2016-04-24 20.00.12

I wonder why this useful term has disappeared down the Memory Hole. Perhaps I’ve forgotten the anti-Semitic pogrom in Gramercy Park on June 16, 1958 staged by readers brandishing copies of the New York Times Book Review. (I think the anti-Semitic mob was led by John Updike. That did happen, right?)

In contrast, the New York Times has used the term “anti-Semitism” 11,059 times since June 16, 1958:

Screenshot 2016-04-24 19.55.28

So, 11,059 to 0 over the last 57+ years.

From Mel Gussow’s 1995 obituary for novelist Weidman in the NYT:

Jerome Weidman, the prolific and popular novelist who wrote ”I Can Get It for You Wholesale” and also won a Pulitzer Prize as the author (with George Abbott) of the Broadway musical ”Fiorello!,” died yesterday at his home in Manhattan. He was 85.

In his two prosperous careers as novelist and playwright, Mr. Weidman often wrote about the rough underside of business and politics — and daily life — in New York, the city in which he was born. His first novel, ”I Can Get It for You Wholesale,” published in 1937 when he was 24, teemed with the life in Manhattan’s garment center, telling about the rise of the ragingly ambitious Harry Bogen. Along with the title character in Budd Schulberg’s ”What Makes Sammy Run?,” Harry became an archetypal figure in American literature: the abrasive young man who would do anything to get ahead.

… The novel made his reputation and became his longest running success. Transformed into a Broadway musical in 1962 (with a score by Harold Rome), it starred Elliott Gould as Harry Bogen, and was the show in which Barbra Streisand made her Broadway debut (as the secretary Miss Marmelstein). …

Mr. Weidman’s first novel became the hallmark of his career, and also a subject of controversy. There were those like Meyer Levin who thought of him, along with Mr. Schulberg, as examples of ”the self-hating period in writing,” as novelists who wrote too negatively about their Jewish backgrounds.

Is the phrase “self-hating” ever used to discourage Gentile artists from criticizing Gentile businessmen? Is Orson Welles denounced as self-hating for parodying William Randolph Hearst in Citizen Kane?

• Tags: Stage 
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I was trying to think of something new to say about Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death, which isn’t that easy to do.

In general, I’d suggest that Shakespeare has enjoyed a really, really good 400 years of being dead, at least as measured in audience applause, a metric that Shakespeare himself probably would have valued. Granted, as a businessman who worked very hard (presumably) for the moderate amount of wealth he piled up, I would think he’d be a little peeved that his daughters didn’t get to profit from all the advances in intellectual property law since 1709. But, on the whole, it’s been a pretty decent 400 years for Shakespeare, what with him being dead and all.

But what about the future?

On the one hand, Shakespeare’s reputation over the course of my lifetime is perhaps the most stable in all of literature, other than, maybe, Homer’s. Consider in contrast even Dante, whose repute may have peaked about a century ago due to his appeal to WASPs such as T.S. Eliot. Granted, people don’t put down Dante now, but English-speakers don’t rhapsodize over him as much as they did in the first four decades of the 20th Century, the E.M. Forster era, when rich Americans and Englishmen tried to spend time in Dante’s hometown of Florence.

Even today, however, Shakespeare continues to electrify the Theater Kids. And in a culture war, that’s who you want — the good-looking and limelight-seeking girls and boys — in your foxhole.

On the other hand, the humorless, unattractive Social Justice Warriors may eventually turn upon Shakespeare as the ultimate stale pale male.

Thus, from the Guardian:

Only 17% of speeches in Shakespeare’s plays are by women

Shakespeare may have been widely championed as a visionary, but this description can’t be applied to his record on gender equality. On average men are given 81% of speeches, while 17% go to women and the rest are made up of unknowns or mixed groups, according to Open Source Shakespeare. Women tend to come off worst in his tragedies: Timon of Athens features just nine speeches by women, compared with 725 by men. And yet the population of Shakespeare’s England was roughly 53.5% male and 46.5% female.

Screenshot 2016-04-23 03.08.26

Julius Caesar, which is written in simpler, more Latin-like English, than Shakespeare’s other plays, is the best intro to a Shakespeare play for boys. Henry IV Part I is hugely entertaining for boys, with Falstaff for comedy and a great sympathetic bad guy in Hotspur.

The problem with the tradition of using Romeo and Juliet as an introduction to Shakespeare for girls is that it’s an extremely show-offy play by a young Shakespeare feeling his verbal oats (as depicted in Shakespeare in Love), and the complexity of the language is likely to defeat most young people. Fortunately, there are countless adaptations, with West Side Story being only the most obvious.

Alison Bechdel

Heather Froehlich asks the burning question:


The Bechdel Test is a measure of how male and female characters are portrayed in cinema and other media. A piece passes the Bechdel test if it:

a) has at least two women in it
b) who talk to each other about something besides a man.

That’s it. Pretty simple, right? Not a lot of contemporary media passes the Bechdel test, rather alarmingly. While I was working out proportions of male and female characters in Shakespeare, I got a number of questions about whether or not Shakespeare will pass. I went looking to see if anyone else had approached this question before. Someone has, but at the time of writing this, their website is down for maintenance.

I have already shown that all of Shakespeare’s plays have 2 or more female characters. But what about “talking to each other about something other than a man”? …

By and large, Shakespeare does not pass the Bechdel test: but two plays do – and it’s not the plays I ever would have expected. …

Henry V does pass the Bechdel Test, due to this discussion (in French) between Katherine and Alice from Act 3 Scene 4. …

Richard 2 passes because the Queen and her ladies “are carefully not talking about Richard” as @angevin2 kindly points out; they are instead talking about garden sports in Act 3 Scene 4.

But, my impression is that when girls get together they actually do talk about boys a lot …

Here’s a question for the Shakespeare experts: are there any gay characters in Shakespeare’s works? It’s a pretty interesting question since it’s not clear how long the 20th century gay male mode has been around in the past, or how long it will last into the future. Is it due to nature or nurture?

Shakespeare himself … I dunno. He fathered three children in Stratford as a very young man. But some of his early sonnets after he then arrived in London sound pretty gay. But then he became a patriarch of the theater, where, judging from today’s theater, he presumably would have known numerous gays. But his plays don’t seem particularly gay by stage standards. Eventually, around age 48 he retired back to his small town of Stratford, where his will granted his widow his second-best bed.

There aren’t a lot of obviously gay characters in Shakespeare’s plays.

One possibile gay character is an effeminate aristocrat whom the virile Hotspur denounces at length in Henry IV Part I. On the other hand, maybe Shakespeare was just making fun of the unnamed offstage character’s snobbishness? Similarly, it’s hard to tell from watching reruns of the Jack Benny Show from the 1950s whether Benny is making fun of his character’s effeminacy or snobbishness.

• Tags: Shakespeare, Stage 
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Lin-Manuel Miranda in “Hamilton”

From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:

A striking example of how identity politics turn in practice into the Zillionaire Liberation Front has emerged in the war over which Dead White Male to kick off the currency to make room for a woman: the $10 bill’s Alexander Hamilton or the $20’s Andrew Jackson. Bizarrely, the reactionary genius Hamilton, apostle of rule by the rich, is rapidly morphing in the conventional wisdom’s imagination into an Honorary Nonwhite.

Read the whole thing there.

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From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:

As a Christmas present, I received the book version of The Hard Problem, the latest play by Sir Tom Stoppard. It’s the great Tory playwright’s first new work for the stage since his Rock ’n’ Roll in 2006. …

I’ve been reading Stoppard’s plays for forty years now. Despite the new work’s seemingly forbidding highbrow subject matter—the title refers to the “hard problem of consciousness” formulated by philosopher David Chalmers—this may be the most lucid and serene of all of Stoppard’s works. It’s not as ambitious or as emotionally resonant as Stoppard’s 1993 masterpiece Arcadia, but then what play is? Nonetheless, it offers the most straightforward introduction to Stoppard’s work since his 1982 romantic dramedy The Real Thing, which preceded his turn toward science as subject matter in the late 1980s.

The bickering neurobiologists of The Hard Problem return to the moral philosophy questions—Does God exist? What is virtue? How can free will be reconciled with the study of nature and nurture? Can altruism exist without consciousness?—that were argued with such manic wit by rival academic philosophers in his 1972 farce Jumpers.

Read the whole thing there.

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From my new book review in Taki’s Magazine:

It’s informative to compare two current memoirs focused upon race: the rapturously welcomed Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, which I reviewed a week ago, and The Coloring Book: A Comedian Solves Race Relations in America by the veteran Irish-American comic Colin Quinn, last seen stealing the movie Trainwreck as Amy Schumer’s father.

Americans all claim to be fascinated by diversity, but the popularity of Coates’ old-fashioned black-white tunnel vision demonstrates once again that the conventional wisdom hasn’t become more sophisticated in the past half century. It’s always that Selma bridge in 1965.

In contrast, around 1966 the 7-year-old Quinn’s family moved to Brooklyn’s deteriorating Park Slope, then one of the most ethnically mixed (and junkie-infested) spots in America.

He loved it.

Read the whole thing there.

Here’s a picture of Park Slope in the 1970 Hal Ashby movie The Landlord starring Beau Bridges, shot when Quinn was about 11:

And here’s the exact same view in 2011:

• Category: Humor, Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Books, Race, Stage 
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From my column in Taki’s Magazine:

On August 31st, I extolled Clybourne Park (now playing at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre), Bruce Norris’s 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about white flight in 1959 and white gentrification in 2009. That same day, in an example of life imitating arts criticism, liberal gentrifiers sent a 40-man SWAT team to smash down the door of an extended family of about 30 underclass blacks still living in Chicago’s Lincoln Park on the 1800 block of N. Sheffield Ave. (That’s right between Steppenwolf on N. Halsted and the Crate & Barrel on N. Clybourn.) 

Answering a question left hanging by Clybourne Park — Just how ruthlessly far will today’s liberals go to make the desirable parts of the inner city white again? — Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s city government evicted the pit bull-owning Harris clan from the two adjacent homes they’ve owned since 1970. … One Lincoln Park resident explained, “People don’t pay $20,000 a year in property taxes to have neighbors like these.”

Read the whole thing there.
(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Real Estate, Stage 
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There are a couple of bits of Tom Stoppard news this week (an Arcadia revival is in previews on Broadway and Keira Knightley might play Anna Karenina in a film of Stoppard’s adaptation), so I used that as an excuse to write about my favorite playwright in my Taki’s Magazine column:
Tom Stoppard’s remarkable career stands as a puzzling rebuke to cynicism about show biz. Sure, audience-pandering, trend-surfing, and propagandizing can explain the vast majority of what the entertainment industry sets before us. Yet, how can we account for Stoppard’s endless success? Sir Tom has appealed to everyone’s best instincts for most of the last half-century, and he’s been handsomely rewarded for it.
Read the rest there.

By the way, here’s something that caught my eye in Johann Hari’s 2003 review of a Stoppard biography in the leftwing Independent:

Did you know that Stoppard came up with the name of his friend Mick Jagger’s 1997 tour, “Bridges to Babylon”, or that Stoppard, Jagger and the ultra-right-wing journalist Paul Johnson often meet for tea and biscuits? (Oh, to be a fly on the wall of that padded cell…)
That England’s leading playwright, rock star, and historian get together privately and, no doubt, exchange heresies … I mean, they have to be mad to say things like what Johann Hari suspects them of saying at tea parties he doesn’t get invited to.
(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Books, Stage 
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Tom Stoppard’s latest play Rock ‘n’ Roll about a Pink Floyd-loving Czech in 1968 has opened in New York. (Here’s the NYT review.)

Stoppard, as I’ve mentioned before, is the only major Western European or North American fiction author to devote a substantial portion of his career to criticizing Communism. In the arts, what happened to Eastern Europe between 1917-1991 has otherwise pretty much disappeared down the old memory hole.

It’s always a good idea to read a Stoppard play before seeing it. Stoppard works hard to make his plays as entertaining and stageworthy as possible, but he’ll sacrifice initial intelligibility to make them deeper and richer. (Here’s the script of Rock ‘n’ Roll.)

On the other hand, he keeps rewriting plays until he gets them right, so the book version you can buy sometimes isn’t what you’ll see. This was most notoriously true with his nine hour trilogy about the intellectual roots of the Russian Revolution, The Coast of Utopia. I found the book version of the London staging to be rather dull. But, by all accounts, the recent New York City re-staging was a triumph. So, I’m glad to see that the NYC version of the trilogy has just been published.

A reader comments:

Woah woah WOAH.

First of all, your judgment of the original as dull calls your taste into serious question. As a devoted acolyte of yours, I don’t say that lightly.

Second of all, the main differences I noticed from reading the original several times and seeing each play twice in New York were these:

1) dumbed down–
not necessarily a terrible thing but occasionally annoying, and at times pointless or counterproductive.

For example, when Turgenev meets the nihilist on the Isle of Wight or wherever all the expats are for their holiday, the original has the nihilist give his big spiel and then the scene ends with the stark line of T’s: “I don’t know what to call you.” The staging ludicrously has a loud sound effect grow over the nihilist’s speech, as if they didn’t have the courage of the writing’s conviction, and then in response to “I don’t know what to call you” the nihilist shouts, unintentionally comically, “CALL ME BAZAROV!” Later, we have the name Bazarov explicitly cited as T’s nihilist antihero. So anyone in the Broadway audience too stupid to appreciate the Isle of Wight scene will understand, under the weight of sledgehammer, that the guy T met was the inspiration for his book.

2) sold out to the libs–
Drastic rewrite of the ending to reassure the liberal Broadway audience that conservatism is bad and, notwithstanding the previous nine hours, progressivism is good. Herzen gives a clunky, glaringly out of place speech in the last few seconds explaining that the proto-Bolsheviks we met towards the end are in fact “disappointed conservatives.” The actor, O’Byrne, rushed thru the lines that attempt to explain this absurdity, a crappy delivery but the wisest thing to do with such garbage material.

The beautiful lines about history having no culmination and knocking on endless doors in the mist were cut: “But history has no culmination! There is always as much in front as behind. There is no libretto. History knocks at a thousand gates at every moment, and the gatekeeper is chance. We shout into the mist for this one or that one to be opened for us, but through every gate there are a thousand more. ” All that, gone. Wouldn’t want to offend the audience’s religion.

The line near the end picking up on the Ginger Cat idea–”What kind of beast is it, this Ginger Cat with its insatiable appetite for human sacrifice? This Moloch who promises that everything will be beautiful after we’re dead?”–is cut, making the appearance of the Ginger Cat in the first play utterly pointless.

Herzen’s final anguished lines. “I imagine myself the future custodian of a broken statue, a blank wall, a desecrated grave, telling everyone who passes by, ‘Yes—yes, all this was destroyed by the revolution,” are switched to “I imagine THEM [the nihilists] the future custodianS…” thus robbing the line of any dramatic development, any personal recognition, and of course putting all responsibility on the “disappointed conservatives” and none on our heroic liberals.

A total disaster. The first time I saw it I told myself I was misremembering the real script. So I brought it the second time and confirmed it.


(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Stage 
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In case you needed any more evidence for the principal reason musical theater isn’t the great white way of American popular culture anymore, here’s an LA Times article about an upcoming musical entitled “Most Wanted.” It’s about “the life of Andrew Cunanan, an alluring, chameleonic party boy from the San Diego gay-bar scene. In 1997, he went on an unexplained, 2 1/2 -month cross-country killing spree, climaxing in his infamy-sealing trophy killing of fashion designer Gianni Versace.”

What red-blooded American wouldn’t want to see a musical about Andrew Cunanan?

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Stage 
Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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