THE THIRD THEATRE by Robert Brustein


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Mr. Brustein is an ex-critic for the New Republic and is presently heading up the Yale Drama School. And he has long been an exponent of Off Broadway--The Theatre of Revolt (1964, p. 693), etc. This is a collection of pieces he's written from 1957-1968 somewhat bravely lumped together here since Mr. Brustein is rather like a father watching a mutant prodigy go mad. He currently is a reactionary gunning down the groups and qualities he once so proudly supported and takes potshots at various culturemongers along the way. For example the return of The Living Theatre has been an odious disappointment and he chastises it for its ""irresponsible"" techniques and its ""missionary program."" He dislikes Tom O'Horgan's directorial fantasias (usurping the play from the playwright) and considers what could be called the theatre of neurosis exemplified by Dionysus in '69--an exhibitionistic abomination. Where once the third theatre was praised because ""Its outspokenness, in fact, is its most significant characteristic"" now its outspokenness has gotten too Hair-y and we must ""preserve the integrity of culture."" Meanwhile, back on Broadway, Mr. Brustein seems more comfortably assured and does some excellent criticism of the work of Miller, Albee, Pinter, etc. And there are interesting, diverse assessments of everything from the underground movie Gorilla Queen with its Queen Kong to Dr. Strangelove. The landmark-etable quality of the earlier book will assure attention. This is not as concise or cogent but it is consistently stimulating.

Pub Date: May 27th, 1969
Publisher: Knopf