By N. Pressley
20 years after Tony Kushner's influential Angels in the United States appeared to claim a revitalized efficiency for the preferred political play, there's a "No Politics" prejudice undermining US construction and writing. This publication explores the principally unrecognized cultural styles that discourage political playwriting at the modern American degree.
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Extra info for American Playwriting and the Anti-Political Prejudice: Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Perspectives
The nomination caused an extra-theatrical stir when it was met with resistance, not on the basis of Kushner’s playwriting but by a board member’s objection to certain political statements from the dramatist. The controversy illustrates how potently Kushner has embraced the archival role of, and claimed a cultural visa for, the American playwright as a public political figure, an attribute that was singled out in the nominating letter authored by professors Amy Green and Michael Meeropol. ” The praise is not wholly accurate; it is actually wishful thinking.
Shavian criticism is rife with this trope; this well-rehearsed complaint, again, is part of the self-imposed “aesthetic codes” that Kushner laments. Stephen Holden’s New York Times review of the film adaptation of Rebecca Gilman’s controversial stage drama Spinning into Butter (1999) is exemplary for its rehearsal of the standard objections. “Its characters,” Holden writes, “ . . are mouthpieces of ludicrous boilerplate reeking of condescension and incomprehension. Even the term minority is scrutinized and found poisonous .
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). The US response was also mixed, but the influential lead review in the New York Times from David Richards was quite negative, dismissing the work as intellectually slight.