THE NAKED IMAGE by Harold Clurman


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The hoary complaint about drama critics being theatrical neophytes can not be leveled at Harold Clurman. A member of the legendary Group Theatre of the '30's and a sought-after Broadway director who's had his ups and downs, (Where's Daddy?, his most recent effort, flopped ignominiously), Clurman brings to his observations the seasoned, excited, informed response of a working pro. Most of the collected reviews here stem from the pages of The Nation, and roughly cover the last seven years spanning both the national and international scene. The foreign reportage is the most fortunate, not only because the fare is more exotic, far-flung, and ""rare"" in a newsworthy sense, but also because in commenting upon the activities of London, Edinburgh, Paris, Moscow, Warsaw, and Tokyo, Clurman's impressionistic, pithy jottings, his causerie of attitudes and productions abroad, never seem to bog down his style. These pieces have a freshness and synoptic allure which his longer forays into the Great White Way lack. Analyzing the individual plays of Albee or Baldwin or Williams, or such current import ""names"" as Brecht, Genet, and Hochhuth, Clurman has difficulty sustaining an intensive interpretation. This is partly due to his rather gentlemanly, somewhat oldish manner (reminiscent at times of England's Harold Hobson), and partly the fault of a too appreciative, indulgent approach. While intelligent enough, Clurman backs off from any rigorous critique, so that the general aura is a sort of judicious, literate enthusing, democratically garlanding the Absurd or Odets, and tending toward commonplace conclusions. For all buffs.

Publisher: Macmillan