The Theater: Genet's War

When a writer is at a loss for anything fresh to say, he sometimes cannibalizes previous successful works of his own, or cribs outright from someone else. In The Screens, Jean Genet does both. Thinly disguised furnishings of The Balcony, with its bordello fantasies, and The Blacks, with its racial voodoo masks, go floating past in this five-hour play that most nearly resembles a roiling, debris-clotted river in flood.

The Screens, however, lacks the caste v. outcast tensions of The Blacks and the musky eroticism of The Balcony. In a Genetic mutation of Bertolt Brecht, the playwright doubly fails. He tries to...

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