Theater: Gilt Without the Lily

"A spade," says a character in one of Christopher Fry's plays, "is never so merely a spade as the word spade would imply." At least not in Fry's plays. Fanciful and stylized, they are written in a verse that it hardly seems fair to call blank. Everything is cloaked in a brocade of metaphors. Was that a rooster's crow? No, it was "the pickaxe voice of a cock, beginning to break up the night." Did it rain? No, "the heavens emptied their pots." Fry uses such figures of speech—more figures than speech—in an attempt to jolt his audience into a fresh...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!