American Playwriting and the Anti-Political Prejudice: by N. Pressley

By N. Pressley

Two decades after Tony Kushner's influential Angels in the United States looked as if it would claim a revitalized efficiency for the preferred political play, there's a "No Politics" prejudice undermining US creation and writing. This e-book explores the mostly unrecognized cultural styles that discourage political playwriting at the modern American degree.

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Example text

Enron” is fast-paced, flamboyant and, despite the head-clogging intricacy of its business mathematics, lucid to the point of simple-mindedness. But as was true of the company of this play’s title, the energy generated here often feels factitious, all show (or show and tell) and little substance. ” It seems plausible that a taste for the Brechtian techniques5 and the music-hall approach of Prebble and director Rupert Goold resonated better in Britain than with Brantley, who closed his review by describing his fascination with the psychological depiction of Enron chief financial officer, Andy Fastow, shown in thrall to the raptors that symbolized the dark, rapacious aspects of his business arrangements.

It is a typical Kushner episode: grotesque, fanciful, comic and yet fully aware that the real power lies with the Party hack who has the capacity to banish his amatory rival to Siberia . . He asks whether the failure of the Soviet experiment necessarily invalidates the idea of social ownership and planned management. Unlike Angels In America, you sometimes feel the play is the product of hard reading rather than direct experience. ”). Benedict Nightingale’s response in The Times was varied; he seized on the exclamation point of the title to suggest that Kushner’s serious tone is not sure enough (Nightingale).

This 87 minute evening is more in the nature of a doodle, really . . ” many of the qualities that made “Angels” distinctive: the playwright’s eagerness to engage an audience in lively political discourse, his willingness to follow his imagination wherever it leads him and his ability to undercut himself with wit whenever the pronouncements start turning too serious. That said, what you have here is not much more than a cluster of intellectual vaudeville sketches linked to one another only because they happen to have an overlapping character or two.

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