Theater: Saran-Wrapped Social Security

by Andrew Bergman

Not so very long ago, Broadway was thickly settled with relentlessly cheerful domestic comedies. Almost invariably these plays were set in some showcase living room. As soon as the curtain went up, audiences applauded the unassertive furniture, as if in affirmation of their own good taste. That kind of play is all but dead, killed by high ticket prices that prompt theatergoers to demand something special, and by the genre's own dishonesty. When a TV sitcom resolves an impossible problem in half an hour, viewers know that more trouble will crop up next week. In the theatrical equivalent, pain is glibly...

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