By Ruby Cohn
The thought of a modern cross-cultural alternate in the medium of theater is the following imposed on a dozen modern Anglo-American dramatists: Alan Ayckbourn and Neil Simon, Edward Bond and Sam Shepard, David Mamet and Harold Pinter, Caryl Churchill and Maria Irene Forn?s, David Hare and David Rabe, Christopher Hampton and Richard Nelson. In every one pairing, Ruby Cohn unites a British with an American playwright, exploring similarities that function a springboard for the publicity of a extra profound, culturally-based distinction.
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Additional info for Anglo-American Interplay in Recent Drama
Yet Simon also makes it funny, so that we laugh with a sympathy that the selfish old souls scarcely deserve. Simon chooses an American burlesque sketch for his inner play, but Ayckbourn chooses an English classic, The Beggar's Opera, for his play-long inner play. The solicitor director Dafydd cajoles his recalcitrant amateur cast toward performance, even though he is aware: "Here we are, playing around with pretty lights and costumes held together with safety pins. " The "all" that is happening is hardly cataclysmic, and Dafydd is unaware of most of it.
One of the greatest things that was done for Simon in The Odd Couple was the casting as Oscar of Walter Matthau, the dour-faced actor who slouches impeccably into major Simon roles. In contrast, the presence of Robert Morley in How the Other Half Loves almost scuttled Ayckbourn's West End career. The veteran actor told the neophyte author: "Look, nobody wants to come to the theatre and see people squabbling . . We don't want all these nasty cross people, and people shouting at each other" (Watson, Conversations with Ayckbourn, p.
Crow's reign begins, but his final song, "Rollin' Down," casts doubt on its durability. The Tooth of Crime is Shepard's most tightly plotted play, inscribing his artist antagonists on an endgame set, and endowing them with contrasting idioms - in words, music, and especially physical stance. " The manic machismo of the 1960s, which Shepard absorbed with 42 Artists' arias: Edward Bond and Sam Shepard his drugs, culminates onstage in violent death. The Tooth of Crime is at once a contest between rock stars, a histrionic match of performers, a bout between generations (to which Leonard Wilcox adds the cultural generations of modernism against postmodernism), and a class war between the haves and have-nots, between the recently rooted Westerner and the catch-as-catch-can Gypsy - a class war innocent of Marx.