The Theater: Barometric Eye on Suburbia

ABSENT FRIENDS by ALAN AYCKBOURN

To be inspired is worth less to a playwright than to be obsessed. With Eugene O'Neill, it is the isolated torment of the soul's loneliness. With Arthur Miller, it is the nagging quest for justice. With Tennessee Williams, it is the poignant cry of the violated heart. And though Britain's Alan Ayckbourn does not rank with these playwrights, he, too, has his ambient obsession. Again and again (Absurd Person Singular, The Norman Conquests and now Absent Friends) he dwells on the crimping horizons and absurdist conventional fritter...

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