Theater: Games Playwrights Play

Life may be a game, but not all games are lifelike. This basic distinction makes all the difference in two plays that recently opened in London, and whose authors are twin brothers with varying philosophies of gamesmanship. One brother has produced a work that is sheer play, the other a play that labors but does not work.

Peter Shaffer, whose succès de spectacle was The Royal Hunt of the Sun, plays a labored game of "hound the humanist" in The Battle of Shrivings. Sir Gideon Petrie (John Gielgud) is an aged, Bertrand Russell-like champion...

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