Theater: Life at the Boiling Point

Tolstoy said that "happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Theatrically, unhappy families do have something in common: they are the breeding grounds of durably vital plays and of great playwrights. From the Greek tragedies through Ibsen and Chekhov, the unhappy family recurs as a dominating theme. Similarly, it is almost a catalogue of the best American plays. Think of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night, Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie, Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman and Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of...

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