The Playgoer: Politics or "Propaganda"

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Politics or "Propaganda"

A false distinction, if you ask me. But the Obersver's John Heilpern tries to distinguish between what he perceives as crude lecturing (Embedded) and more character- and pschyologically-based drama of political content (Bright Room Called Day, as seen in a recent revival).

The fact Heilpern hails Nilaja Sun's No Child... as giving "a good name to the theater of social conscience" by being "about the difference that a single human being can make" shows where we disagree.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like Heilpern -- he's sharp and witty and he was great on MNIRC. But this piece disappoints me. It's the old carping canards about politics and art and I think we need some new, more subtle thinking on this topic. It's too easy -- and often inaccurate, imho -- to say that something with a clear pov is flatly (ie boringly) propagandistic. And Brecht's "didacticism" is more complex -- and far more pleasurable, by design -- that most Americans give him credit for. Just like the Kalb feature in the NYT on MC on Sunday, there's an unargued assumption that Brecht plays are a problem. Here's hoping Kushner & co. give us evidence of a different view.