Theater: Buckets of Tears

THE LAST OF MRS. LINCOLN

by JAMES PRIDEAUX

History is so dramatic, people frequently say. Apart from Shakespeare's works, there is scarcely a historical play in the entire canon of Western dramatic art worth an aesthetic hoot. An in toxication with history in the theater usually means that someone with the dramatic imagination of a file-card clerk has wandered into the library stacks and gone on a binge with a book.

The effect is sometimes a calumny, as when a Rolf Hochhuth claimed in Soldiers that Churchill engineered the murder of the head of the Polish government in exile. More often, it is stultifyingly...

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