By Thomas S. Hischak
Quantity 4 of the prestigious American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama sequence deals a radical, candid, and interesting examine the theater in ny over the past many years of the 20th century.
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Additional resources for American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama, 1969-2000
There was some reminiscing about Sarah Bernhardt’s famous tour as Hamlet, but this revival, stopping in New York on its cross-country tour, was a curiosity at best. On January 20, the ﬁnest revival of the season (for several, the most adventurous Shakespeare production seen in New York in many a year) was the Royal Shakespeare Company’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Peter Brook at the Billy Rose. Breaking with every known tradition, this production of the pastoral comedy was performed in a stark white box without a tree or bush in sight.
Philip’s Community Theatre), an off-off Broadway entry that attracted some attention, ran a month in Harlem. The drama about drug abuse was inspired by recent headlines, speciﬁcally the death of Walter Vandermeer, a twelve-year-old student who died from an overdose. The most successful off-Broadway revival of the season was One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (11-13-63) on March 23 at the Mercer-Hansberry. Dale Wasserman’s dramatization of the popular Ken Kesey novel had only managed eighty-two performances in 1963 despite the presence of Kirk Douglas as the vivacious McMurphy.
But Harold (Kevin McCarthy), to everyone’s surprise, returns, and on his birthday no less. ) Harold is a bragging, crude, mock-heroic fool who tries unsuccessfully to get his own son to shoot him to prove his masculinity. Harold even attempts a Hemingway-like suicide but cannot go through with it, leaving him a shallow and shattered man. Vonnegut’s unique way with offbeat characters and ripe dialogue (Penelope tells the audience: “This is tragedy. ”) carried onto the stage, but his storytelling techniques were unsuccessful.