The groundbreaking playwright Ntozake Shange has remarked that “one of the few points human beings have to offer is the richness of unconsciousness and conscious emotional responses to getting alive.” Her assertion also encapsulates the working experience of going to the theatre and being woke up to new views and universes of imagined. Theatre is a communal endeavor that delivers us together in techniques that other artwork forms do not. In periods of crisis or unease, it can offer a significant, revelatory balm.
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This 7 days, we’re bringing you a collection of items about the theatrical experience. In “Deconstructing Sondheim,” Stephen Schiff profiles the famous composer of musicals that include things like “Into the Woods” and “Sunday in the Park with George.” “Sondheim has constantly explained that he by no means set out to revolutionize an artwork form,” Schiff writes, “but that is exactly what he did: he and his collaborators grabbed the musical by the scruff and hauled it from the dreamy classicism of Rodgers and Hammerstein into the jittery, anomic modernist era—and over and above.” In “Been Here and Long gone,” John Lahr explores the exhilarating qualified trajectory of the playwright August Wilson. Hilton Als writes about Shange’s progressive artistry, and Andy Logan talks with Tennessee Williams about his strike Broadway display “The Glass Menagerie.” “Williams,” Logan observes, “is a tiny, tranquil man with rather shut-clipped hair and a heart which is a minimal as well unstable to permit him to be in the Military. Collectors of psychosomatic lore will be fascinated to master that he was the moment paralyzed for two weeks, seemingly as a gesture of protest versus performing in a shoe shop.” In “How Lorraine Hansberry Wrote ‘A Raisin in the Sunshine,’ ” Lillian Ross considers how the playwright, then just 20-eight, created her masterwork about race in The united states. In “Why I Wrote ‘The Crucible,’ ” Arthur Miller displays on McCarthyism and the politics of paranoia that birthed his common engage in about the Salem witch trials. In “King’s Speech,” Michael Schulman profiles Katori Corridor, whose acclaimed 2011 drama, “The Mountaintop,” depicts the previous hours of Martin Luther King, Jr.,’s life. Last but not least, in “Tony Kushner’s Paradise Lost,” Arthur Lubow contemplates the playwright’s masterpiece, “Angels in America,” and chronicles the interactions that most influenced his operate. “Kushner took AIDS—a political problem as well big to ignore—and poured into it the survivor’s guilt, the rage of the ill at the nutritious, the caretaker’s balancing of self-sacrifice and self-fascination, which he knew from tending to his injured buddy,” Lubow writes. “ ‘I have spattered our connection all about this enjoy,’ he stated.”
—Erin Overbey, archive editor