The Playgoer: Why we love "History Boys"

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Why we love "History Boys"

"Basically, the play is an attack on a shallow education system and opportunistic, go-getting educationalists — and where are they more conspicuous than in America? I should know. I’ve taught in an American university. I’ve seen undergraduates in tears when they’ve got Bs instead of As. I’ve been virtually threatened with a lawsuit for giving a D to a student who deserved nothing higher than a C. Is The History Boys touching a nerve among those who inwardly know that something is deeply amiss at the very fount of Western culture? I’d like to think so."
- Benedict Nightingale, in the Times of London, waxing innocent on the success of History Boys on Broadway. Sorry, Benedict, I think the audience is just seeing a different play than you did.

Either that, or we have another glorious case of going to the theatre to feel righteous and moral for a few hours, then leaving to go home and do just the opposite. In this case, forcing our teenagers to do extra Princeton Review classes so they can go to the Ivy's and learn to be as witty as those darling British boys on stage.

PS He also applauds Broadway for welcoming a dark and bloody comedy like McDonagh's "Lieutenant of Inishmore," but little does he know it's there due only to the determination of the Atlantic Theatre Company and a few quixotic producers ... and that it no doubt was drawing up a post-Tonys closing notice at the very moment he was writing this!


June said...

I'm surprised to read a such a wrong-headed take by Nightingale. I just read his book "Front Row Center: A Year On and Off Broadway," about the season (1983-84) he spent in New York doing essays for the Sunday NYT. It's a wonderful book--very smart on many things, including the finances of New York theater (as it was practiced more than 20 years ago).

Anonymous said...

How many pedophiles does it take to transfer a play from the National to Broadway?