The Theater: Bloody Saturday

OTHERWISE ENGAGED by SIMON GRAY

One Saturday afternoon in London, a publisher named Simon sits down to play, in what he hopes will be uninterrupted silence, a new recording of Parsifal. He has heard no more than a few measures, however, when life—importunate, inconvenient, thoroughly messy life—comes knocking at his door. And it keeps knocking, in the form of relatives, friends, acquaintances, strangers, all afternoon, testing his carefully trained incapacity for human relationships, even simple understanding.

Some of Simon's callers are merely nuisances: a boorish top-floor tenant (John Christopher Jones), a boozily aggressive littérateur, his girl friend who is soon enough making a...

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