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182 Comparative Drama hand the question of metaphysical and religious considerations— as these two writers do—and make no effort to come to grips with, for but one example, A. D. Nuttal’s T w o C on cepts o f A llegory, they are refusing an obligation they owe the reader. In his discussion of The T em pest Mr. Nuttall—whose own commitments are declaredly to Ayer and linguistic analysis and who is ruthlessly sceptical of metaphysical and religious pre­ tension—acknowledges the vital importance of religion and theology to The T em pest. For example, he concludes part of his analysis of that play with this: “Love is conceived as a supernatural force, and any number of protestations of metaphor and apologetic inverted commas cannot do away with the fact that a sort of deification, and therefore a fortiori reification has taken place” (p. 160). We need not believe that Mr. Nuttal has the last word, but neither Professor Smith nor Professor Peterson may hope to persuade us they are right in jettisoning what they do with­ out explaining how their conclusions improve upon or correct his, and in the light of what critical assumptions they can point to. JOHN ARTHOS U niversity o f M ichigan Theatre 5: The A m erican Theatre 1971-72. New York: Charles Scrib­ ner’s Sons, 1973. Pp. 176. $6.95. T heatre 5 is a survey of American theatre in 1971-72. Scribner’s pub­ lished it in 1973, while this writer reviews it in the closing days of 1974 for publication in 1975. The time lag hardly matters, for the writers gathered into this annual publication compile a verdict equally true for any of the past few years. Broadway continues to wane under serious financial pressure (Clurman), Off-Broadway shows the same symptoms as it grows to resemble its parent (Stasio), Off-off-Broadway is active despite all, now more visible than ever (Brukenfeld), Black theatre comes into its own with Black theatres to support its playwrights (Riley, Oliver), regional theatre is good and getting better (Gussow, Gister, Sul­ livan), the O’Neill Conference meets regularly (Hirsch), governments and foundations do not give enough subsidies (Barnes), while the rest of us insist upon publishing books—some of them not bad. There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave To tell us this. Well, I don’t mind. Theatre is under siege and a periodic roll call is conforting . Besides, the names do change and the production photos here are both good and plentiful. The cumulative thesis of this issue is that American theatre con­ tinues its trend toward decentralization. Broadway, once the hub, has become what one writer calls “winter stock,” living on revivals and im­ ports. The regional theatres which were once conceived as homes for Reviews 183 the established repertoire have assumed Broadway’s job of realizing new scripts. (So long as regional theatres continue to present classics with ingenious vigor, the change has advantages.) One large group of theatres is almost totally absent from Theatre 5, and their omission may be a bit premature. The university theatres are large in number but their impact has not been what we might have expected a decade ago. Today they are under a financial pressure worse than in 1971-72, and their emer­ gence as a prominent force is less likely than then. Yet their combination of equipment, space, guaranteed budget, audience-in-residence, and free (if limited) talent seems to be what other theatres cry for. Perhaps their major contribution will always be to feed ready-made groups into the system, like the Company Theatre of Los Angeles, since disbanded but prominently featured in Theatre 5. But always it comes down to money—we say. If decentralization has been the process, money has been the cause. Production expenses in New York are prohibitive and less than total box-office success can be a dis­ aster. Costs are less in Buffalo, Milwaukee, Washington, and L.A., but foundation and trustee support has a way of shifting like the bottom of the Mississippi or the great California fault. And we all know what’s happening to the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 182-184
Launched on MUSE
2018-07-11
Open Access
No
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