Dear friends and readers,
Brief review: we saw Tom Stoppard’s Night and Day at the WSC last night and despite its manifest decency of perspective, and how well performed it was, the play was tedious. The first by Stoppard I’ve ever found so — though now come to think of it, he is wordy, and very like Shaw in the centrality of debate to his plays. The Admiral pinpointed the problems: how journalism (its subject) as a paying profession had already been ruined when newspapers owned destroyed the unions by moving to Wapping; that the troubles of 1970s are today overtoppled by destruction of profession 20 years later by a combination of advertising and daily immediate articles going to the Net, ruthless destruction of any progressivism in major papers, not to omit (to be fair) the subject of the play: determined murder of journalists who dare to report truths of colonialism, capitalism, militarism. Finally, that Stoppard is unable to present a credible portrait of a sexually aware, awakened, adult woman as the central presence of a play. Most of his plays have few or no women (The Invention of Love is a case in point) or they are marginalized (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead) or we have a 12 year old (Arcadia). It was good to see such a full audience, rejuvenating to see that other areas of this soulless cement building with its hospital-like corridors and white-washed vast spaces were housing dancing, another play and nearby (around the corner from the wide highway right by the place) two restaurants enlivening up the audience. In one corridor drinks and pizza are now served too.
But how hard it is to get up a human cultural people-friendly world in these inhumane spaces and difficult-to-navigate (much less park in) environments. an award was given out to an audience member for being such a devoted goer-to plays for many decades. He made a touching speech about how now he means to get new shoes as his are quite worn out. We do have a wonderful set of repertoire companies in DC and I write often about them (especially the WSC, e.g., on their Richard III and Mary Stuart) in order to support them.