|Drinks on the Grand Canal|
|The view from our suite|
New and improved!
A list of great plays:
Medea, Euripides [Six Broadway productions, 1920 – 2003]
Oedipus, Sophocles [Eight Broadway productions, 1907 – 1984]
Hamlet, Shakespeare [Sixty-seven Broadway productions, 1761 - 1995]
King Lear, [Eighteen Broadway productions, 1754 – 2004]
Tartuffe, Moliere [Five Broadway productions, 1965 – 2003; 36 productions of Moliere plays, 1879 - 2003]
Life is a Dream (La Vida es Sueno 1636), Calderon [One Broadway Production, 1953; a notable production at BAM a few years back]
What modern plays rest comfortably on the shelf beside any of these masterpieces? A Streetcar Named Desire? Death of a Salesman? Our Town?
Hamlet is funny. Marrying your mother is funny. Life is a Dream has some good stuff in it. Not straight out funny, but fun. Lear, Gloucester, Edgar, Goneril, Regan - these are funny people. Cordelia and the Fool: not funny. You know how when someone you know really well, say, your mother, gets so over the top mad you start laughing? That's Media. She's actually pretty funny. Tartuffe, being a comedy, is supposed to be funny and it is. But it is remarkable for how narrowly it avoides being tragedy.
Media, Oedipus, Hamlet, Lear, Segismundo - these are smart, strong, opinionated, grappling-with-the-Gods-type people, the kind you invite to cocktails.
Our Town aint my kinda town. Ordinary people bore the hell out of me. Stella, Stanley and Blanch deserve each other. They are dumb and have dumb, Dr. Phil-type problems I care about not at all. Willy Lohman is an idiot. If I'm going spend good money and a few hours with someone, it sure as hell better be interesting.
Buried Child. Jesus. Imagine sharing a bottle of sour mash with Tilden.
The truly great tragedies cut it so close to comedy it isn't funny.
Visa versa for comedies.
Whatever the period, Western Civilization's greatest plays have the following in common:
Death (Drama) or Marriage (Comedy)
The great plays have survived the test of time. They survive because they are loved. Hamlet has endured not because it is true, but because it's true and entertaining.
Greatness requires both.