Repertory: Operation Rehash

Dissertation is not drama. Between hard covers it may pass as a Ph.D. thesis; on the open stage it is a cruel test of audience patience. In recent seasons, a firm of legalistic factmongers — Hoch-huth, Weiss and Kipphardt — has invaded the theater. They shuttle between distortion and documentation, rehashing past history and seasoning it generously with the catchup of guilt. Each of these playwrights is a displaced pedant who pretends to be stretching the mind. In actuality, he is merely inviting the audience to have a good cry.

In Peter Weiss' Marat/ Sade, the tear-jerking was decorous and...

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