Theater: The Player's the Thing

"The strongest fascination at a theater," wrote George Bernard Shaw of the 1894 London season, "is the fascination of the actor or actress, not of the author." That is still true today. An avid London public, augmented by swarms of tourists, is currently supporting 35 theaters in the West End alone, and in most cases, the player, not the play, is the thing. Considering the high caliber of English acting, this may not be so bad. But, as Shaw also pointed out, it does tend to shortchange the drama in favor of the theater....

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