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Keviews 271 reviews) is at least as significant as that written in the form of longer critical essays: "[aln epic poem," he observes by way of analogy, "is not preternaturally better than a sonnet" (x). Yet, surely, where a sonnet is a rigorously selfcontained work of art in its own right, a review is merely a snapshot response to someone else's work, and one that inevitably says as much about the critic's mood on a particular night as about the play itself. What we get in reviews is opinion rather than more substantial or measured analysis, and, while Rogoff's opinions are always worth reading, they are invariably most interesting in those instances where the reader is familiar with the play or production in question, so that opinions can be compared. (The primary function of a review, after all, is to respond to a show currently running, and so help facilitate debate around'something that readers have the opportunity of seeing, a function that is lost in such retrospective contexts.) The most satisfying pieces in the book are always the longer essays in which Rogoff gives himself the space to develop and back up his comments, such as his overview of Joe Chaikin's career, his comparison of the London and Broadway productions of Angels in America, and his attack on the "Management Game" (235-45) that stifles creativity and experiment in favour of large empty buildings with sponsors ' names on the seats. I found myself wishing for a book on "theater since the sixties" that had taken these essays as its starting point, rather than one that simply dredged the archives. Finally, this book comes across as much as a vanity act as it is Rogoff's own "vanishing act": we had reason to expect more from a critic of his stature. BONNIE MARRANCA and GAUTAM DASGUPTA, eds. Conversations on Art and Petformance. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999. Pp. xiv + 513ยท $49.95 (Hb); $19.95 (Pb). Reviewed by Mark Fortier, University a/Winnipeg Conversations on Art and Petformance is a hefty collection of thirty-six discussions , originally published in Per/arming Arts Journal between the mid1970S and the late 1990s, between Bonnie Marranca and Gautam Dasgupta and a wide range of mainly New York-based artists and critics involved in the performing arts. The list of those who take part in these discussions is truly impressive and includes, among many others, Susan Sontag, Julian Beck, John Cage, Edward Said, Umberto Eco, Robert Wilson, Philip Glass, John Ashbery, John Guare, David Mamet, Maria Irene Fornes, Laurie Anderson, Elizabeth leCompte, Julie Taymor, Karen Finley, and Charles Atlas. The book is a product of two genres, the interview and the anthology, and as such features the characteristics of each. The interviews are chatty and personality -driven, at least in comparison to the more serious work of the critic or 272 REVIEWS artist being interviewed. They sometimes allow for a general position or specific point to be made in a pithy and direct manner not found elsewhere. On the other hand, the conversation is often diffuse, and the titles given to particular interviews, for instance, are often more thematically coherent than the conversations themselves. The interviewers' interjections are, at different times, both a help and a hindrance, trenchant or distracting. At their best, the interviews provide moments of clarification and inspire a fuller exploration of the artist or critic's work. As an anthology, the book provides a great variety of material - here more than 500 pages - but that material is inevitably somewhat disparate. The pieces are probably best, and likely will be taken, in a somewhat piecemeal fashion, although occasionally a line of development appears over the collection. One of the more interesting developments is in two exchanges - between Marranca, Johannes Birringer, and Gerald Rabkin in J 986 and Marranca, Rabkin, and Elinor Fuchs in 1991 - about the plays of the day. Wallace Shawn's Aunt Dan and Lemon and The Fever are among the plays discussed in 1986 and 1991 respectively, and we see the discussions trace an ongoing evaluation and fe-evaluation of Shawn's work and development . Such connections are not always present, however, despite...


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