By Thomas S. Hischak

ISBN-10: 0195123476

ISBN-13: 9780195123470

ISBN-10: 0195302001

ISBN-13: 9780195302004

ISBN-10: 0195352556

ISBN-13: 9780195352559

Quantity 4 of the celebrated American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama sequence bargains an intensive, candid, and interesting examine the theater in big apple over the last many years of the 20th century.

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Israel Horovitz, who had grabbed everyone’s interest with his one-act The Indian Wants the Bronx (1-17-68), managed to draw all the major critics to Off Broadway to see his two-play program Acrobats and Line (2-15-71, Theatre de Lys). Acrobats was a slight curtain raiser about a husband-and-wife acrobatic team who have a marital squabble during a performance. Line was much more intriguing and garnered some encouraging notices. Five people wait on line for an unspecified event. In their manipulating, cheating, and physical maneuvers to be the first in line, they become an allegory for the American obsession with success.

But, aside from Alec McCowen’s mesmerizing performance, critics were not overwhelmed with the play. Two university professors, Philip (McCowen) and Donald (Ed Zimmermann), listen to a student read his play aloud and question the validity of the suicidal ending. So the student takes out a gun and demonstrates, accidentally killing himself. A few days later Philip is having a dinner party where Braham (Victor Spinetti), an obnoxious author, is holding court and flirting with Philip’s fiance´e, Celia (Jane Asher).

On the bill were Kirokuda, Boshibari, Shidohogaku, FunaBenkei, Aoi-No-Ue, and Sumidagawa. 31 Scenes From American Life (3-25-71, Forum), A. R. ’s first full-length comedy, was as promising as his previous one-acts, though still somewhat unsatisfying. The evening was comprised of eight actors playing a multitude of characters in thirty-six sketches that covered various aspects of Americana over the decades, even going into the future to show an authoritarian 1980s. The show was loosely structured with no chronological logic to it, the result being a panorama of hypocritical adults and frustrated youths that was quite potent at times.

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American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama, 1969-2000 by Thomas S. Hischak


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