Theater Abroad: This Rotted World

Many serious, liberal-minded intellectuals worry profoundly about the unattractive impression the U.S. often makes abroad, blaming everyone from unimaginative ambassadors to loud tourists with star-spangled sports shirts. But few would ever admit that some of their own heroes —for example, Playwright Tennessee Williams—can be the worst ambassadors of all. Last week two Williams plays, presented by a freelance theatrical troupe called the New York Repertory Company (which claimed association with Manhattan's Actors' Studio) had left a fairly indelible stain in Rio de Janeiro.

The trouble centered in the group's choice of plays when it planned a five-city Latin American swing...

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