A THEATER DIVIDED by Martin Gottfried


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Mr. Gottfried's Justifiable contention is that today's theatre is suffering from such a split personality it is in danger of destroying itself altogether. He uses the political terms ""left wing"" and ""right wing"" to characterize these polarized points of view: ""The right wing in the American theatre is the establishment...the theater that represents The Theater to the uninformed public--the successful, expensive, professional and essentially Broadway theatre."" The left wing represents the adventurous, experimental anti-conservative elements that include most of the newer resident theatres and some Off-Broadway practitioners. As the author points out, the conservative right wing presently and thoroughly dominates the scene: therefore the tedious repetition of splashy musicals and watered down television tintypes passed off as contemporary comedies. And it is possibly only a matter of time before it loses the remaining right-wing audience it now has (the liberal left, disaffected, has fled to the avant-garde films). It is only by fluke or via British import that a leftist playwright is heard on the shores of Shubert Alley. A man able to see ten sides of the question at once, Mr. Gottfried bolsters his arguments with a Judicious amount of stimulating criticism which encompasses all areas from critics to choreographers. A plea for the Juxtaposition of left wing vitality and right-wing professionalism that should be read.

Pub Date: Jan. 18th, 1967
Publisher: Little, Brown