By Thomas S. Hischak
Quantity 4 of the celebrated American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama sequence bargains a radical, candid, and interesting examine the theater in manhattan over the past a long time of the 20th century.
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Additional info for American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama, 1969-2000
Ronald Millar dramatized the tale of the young Heloise (Diana Rigg), who falls in love with her celibate tutor, Abelard (Keith Michell), has a child by him, and secretly marries him. Found out by a jealous uncle, Abelard is emasculated, and Heloise is sent to a nunnery. The touching coda showed the aged Abelard handing over the religious community he founded to Heloise, now an abbess. Critics were cautious in their acceptance, several of them comparing it to the contemporary novella Love Story that was on the best-seller list.
Six actors improvised comic situations entirely from suggestions from the audience each night. It was nothing new for nightclubs and comedy clubs, but off-Broadway audiences embraced it for 1,109 performances. The same evening, the National Theatre of Japan gave its ﬁrst of three performances of various Noh and Kyogen plays in Carnegie Hall. 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.
British playwright David Storey didn’t get as much attention as he deserved when his quiet drama Home (11-17-70, Morosco) opened on Broadway because all the focus was on its stars, John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson, in a rare New York appearance. Into Jocelyn Herbert’s stark garden setting (one critic compared it to an Edward Hopper painting) come two old gentlemen of the Empire, reserved and meticulous Harry (Gielgud) and chatty, personable Jack (Richardson), who discuss the weather, items in the newspaper, school days, the war, and other people in this seemingly upper-class retirement estate.
American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama, 1969-2000 by Thomas S. Hischak