Farewell to the Theatre (Paperback)

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"I am normally wary of any new play that could be called Chekhovian' it implies something fragile and wispily atmospheric. But Richard Nelson's extraordinary play about the pioneering playwright-director Harley Granville Barker combines a command of realistic detail with a sense of suffering and loss that genuinely evokes the Russian master.
As in many of his previous plays, such as Some Americans Abroad, Nelson deals with cultural collision. In this instance, Granville Barker finds himself in Williamstown, Massachusetts, in 1916, surrounded by a group of English refugees. Disillusioned with English theatre, and with his marriage to Lillah McCarthy on the rocks, the great man is making a living by lecturing on the college circuit. This brings him into contact not only with fellow exiles, including a Dickensian recitalist and a love-struck female actor, but also with the deeply poisonous politics of American campus life.
At one point, Granville Barker dreams of writing a non-Aristotelian play in which there wouldn't be any doing', only being'. And, in many respects, that is just what Nelson himself has created. There is not a lot of plot: simply a mesmerising record of a group of people all in flight from their own unhappiness. Granville Barker, you feel, is not just escaping London theatre, but also his traumatic memories of a European war to which he was sent to write about the Red Cross. Beatrice, the ex-pat actor, is likewise trying to get away from a doomed marriage by having a passionate affair with an undergraduate. As the twinkling Dickensian points out, they all treat America as if it were a Shakespearean forest that could transform their lives. It may not quite do that but, as Nelson artfully suggests, it does temporarily restore Granville Barker's faith in his chosen medium."
Michael Billington, The Guardian

Product Details
ISBN: 9780881457124
ISBN-10: 0881457124
Publisher: Broadway Play Publishing
Publication Date: April 27th, 2017
Pages: 92
Language: English