The Theater: Overdrawn Account

There are two main dramatic uses of memory. One is retributive, and the other is alchemistic. In retributive memory, the playwright squares accounts with the past, attempting to wrest present justice from past injustice. Arthur Miller's The Price is a perfect example. In alchemistic drama, the goal is to transmute the heavy base metals of the past into present lyric gold, as Tennessee Williams did in The Glass Menagerie. Generally speaking, the main thrust of retributive drama is moral, and that of alchemistic drama is aesthetic.

While Paul Zindel is not on a writing par with Miller or Williams, he and his...

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