The Theater: Is Memory a Cat or a Mouse?

When an army retreats, some will say that it is regrouping in an impregnable position. When the stock market plummets, some will say that it is testing a support level. When a playwright falls flat on his face, some will say that he is exploring a new frontier of drama. An agile use of the vocabulary of retrieval frequently snatches illusory success from palpable failure.

Harold Pinter has not fallen on his face in Old Times, but he has mistaken a dead end for a new road. Even more surprisingly, he has written a play that is a bit of a bore,...

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