Wednesday, October 15, 2014

“ a conservative’s hallucinogenic fever-dream of cultural life in Manhattan.”

“ a conservative’s hallucinogenic fever-dream of cultural life in Manhattan.”  That's a line from one of the funniest things I've read in a long time – and it's a review of a production (by Kevin D. Williamson) of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale.  How I, of all people, came to be reading that is a funny story itself, which I'll likely tell some other time.  I'm glad I did, though, because otherwise I'd have missed this:
Which brings us, strangely enough, to the recent performance of The Winter’s Tale, or something purporting to be The Winter’s Tale, staged by Public Works, a sub-fiefdom of the Public Theater’s inexplicably beloved annual outdoor program at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Far from speaking truth to power, the Public Theater has demurely presented power with its hindquarters like a rutting and not particularly choosy she-baboon. To endure it is to take a guided tour of everything that is low-minded, banal, cowardly, and loathsome about American theater.

To say that The Winter’s Tale is the worst thing I ever have seen staged would be an understatement. It represents nothing less than the complete abandonment of artistic and intellectual standards—to say nothing of self-respect—and what may as well be the last word in the degradation of theater and its reduction into a branch of politics. Every professional involved with this supine display of sycophancy should, after a thorough examination of conscience, go into retirement, or else be forcibly driven to it. No reputation should survive.
To think that I thought that the artful insult was dead!  There's more, much more, including the use of the unlikely phrase “Muppet kung-fu stilt-band circus”.  Read the whole thing.

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