THE THEATER IN SPITE OF ITSELF by Walter Kerr

THE THEATER IN SPITE OF ITSELF

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

ere from the Herald Trib-man-on-the-aisle are comments on particular plays and performances interspersed with lengthier, more general musings on the nature and state of the theater today. The contents are ordered ""to suggest the contrary energies that do clash by night"" in contemporary theater. Mr. Kerr runs through most if not all of the shows that were on the boards between 1957 and 1962. The range is from the show babies Gypsy, How to Succeed, The Sound of Music, Nichols and May, to the serious output of Albee, Anouilh, Beckett, Ionesco, Pinter. There are nods to performers who sometimes outshone the plays they graced -- Miss Rutherford, Miss Channing, Mr. Levine, Miss Grimes, Mr. Ford. In general, the author makes a plea for the medium, upholding it in ""all its vulgarities and varieties"", putting the competition in its place as something quite other (TV is intimate). He feels the theater is in flux, that we are departing from the conventional, realistic theater rather timorously despite the theater of the absurd, since this is now ambiguous in intent. Perhaps because a good deal of this book is given over to to quick glances, at times desultory, of immediately past and not always important events, it reads more like a catch-up chat on the past few reasons than comprehensive dramatic criticism.

Pub Date: June 26th, 1963
Publisher: Simon & Schuster