THE CULTURE WATCH: Essays on Theatre and Society by Robert Brustem

THE CULTURE WATCH: Essays on Theatre and Society

Email this review


What sort of audience will this gallimaufry of short takes and reviews find when, after all, no one in America gives a fig for theatre--even if Robert Brustein is a most intelligent critic as well as an engaged intellect? In this commercialized nation of philistines who substitute fad for truth, profit for art--who will heed the warnings of this guardian of high (""minority"") culture? Who will even turn down the volume on the TV in a moment of silence for the death of aforesaid culture? Up at Yale as Dean and director of the repertory theatre these ten years, Brustein broods alone. After a three-year apprenticeship in his prestigious program, his still-green and impressionable students are swooped up (slight exaggeration) by Hollywood to make cheap trash, and off they march, because it's a big break and besides there's nowhere else to go. Being a terrifically toughminded critic, Brustein was not much more satisfied with the state of the arts in London during his sabbatical there (his 1972-73 Sunday Times letters home are reprinted here) even though the West End makes Broadway look even worse than it already is and their two nationally subsidized companies are incomparable. Brustein was as shaken by the '60's sit-ins as he was by Watergate and his honest insights are Often defused by his lamentations, as well as his elitism. He stretches out good drama pieces with middlin' social commentary. He has always been an authoritative and knowledgeable writer. As far as these bristling exhortations go, well, you have to wish the gadfly well.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1975
Publisher: Knopf