The Theater: Howitzers and Hymns

NARROW ROAD TO THE DEEP NORTH by EDWARD BOND

Know thyself, said the ancients; man cannot know himself, say the moderns. He is the enigma of enigmas, a caveman turned philosopher, an innocent ensnared in sensuality, a master builder of civilizations who wrecks them like a frustrated child.

Attuned to this theme, Bond's play is vaguely set in Japan in what might be the mid-19th century. The central figure is the great Japanese poet, Basho (Robert Symonds). He is on a quest for some radiant shaft of wisdom. Instead he encounters a power-mad dictator, Shogo (Cleavon Little), who establishes a great city, but...

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