Friday, August 24, 2007

from David Cote

http://histriomastix.typepad.com/weblog/2007/08/art-for-critics.html I can’t wait to see Letts’ play. But wait, what’s this Charles Isherwood wrote in the Times on August 13, 2007… After comparing the play’s pill-popping, bile-spewing matriarch to Albee’s Martha, O’Neill’s Mary Tyrone and Williams’ Amanda Wingfield, he puts on the brakes toward the end of an otherwise enthusiastic review. After a few good strokes of the chin, quoth The Ish: Mr. Letts is as yet more a skillful entertainer than a true visionary or a dramatic poet. August: Osage County is a ripsnorter full of blistering, funny dialogue, acid-etched characterizations and scenes of no-holds-barred emotional combat, but I would not say it possesses the penetrating truth or the revelatory originality of a fully achieved work of art. Spoken like a true cultural arbiter. Still, let’s pause and rescan. The play “does not possess the penetrating truth or revelatory originality of a fully achieved work of art.” Really? So…it’s not art? Is it at least a fully achieved piece of entertainment? What is the difference? If, in 50 years, no one has written a large-scale family drama that is better than A:OC, will it be upgraded to the ranks of fully-achieved art (FAWA)? Is Isherwood speaking as a newspaper reviewer of 2007 or a cultural commissar from the distant future? Where does he park his time machine?

2 comments:

mbh said...

Reminds me of the professors where I work.

A few are brilliant and I listen to them...

The remainder are pompous windbags who pontificate with the clarity of the opening stanza of "Jabberwocky" over literature they could never in their fantasy write.

Adam said...

t'is brillig