Theater: Home and Away Principia Scriptoriae

by Richard Nelson

Two young men, an American and a Latin American, have been jailed by the police of an unnamed country's rightist dictatorship. The crime: distribution of subversive leaflets. In their cell, they converse clumsily, united less by ideology than by a rapturous and surprisingly sophisticated passion for literature. Yet at every turn they misunderstand each other, responding to received images from each other's popular culture rather than to the actual person across the room. The American is a wandering would-be writer. He cheerily acknowledges that he knows no Spanish and thus has not even read the flyers they handed out. It hardly...

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