British playwright Dennis Kelly, whose musical adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel Matilda is scheduled to land on Broadway next year following a triumphant run at the Royal Shakespeare Company, gave the opening speech at this year’s Theatertreffen festival in Berlin. The title of his speech: “Why political theatre is a complete fucking waste of time.” Potent words calculated to raise hackles, especially given that Kelly’s first few plays, Osama the Hero and After the End, put him on the map as one of Britain’s more politically inclined young playwrights. His full remarks can be found here.
But on to happier matters. Terry Teachout filed his 500th column as the Wall Street Journal‘s chief drama critic this week; in this post on his blog, About Last Night, he takes a brief look back. Terry began writing for the WSJ — and started his blog — only a few months before I started Superfluities in 2003 (we began to correspond and meet occasionally for lunch and a few theatre outings shortly thereafter), and what a long strange trip it’s been for the both of us. He has proven not only a continuing champion of the blogosphere’s ability to disseminate important arts criticism ordinarily marginalized by the mainstream press; he has also remained intensely committed to the health of the regional theatre scene, which he covers with a frequency and seriousness that has no parallel. Mine and Terry’s aesthetic paths have diverged, to put it mildly, but he was the first critic to give an early play of mine a rave review, and that it came from a writer with such indisputable and uncompromising critical integrity has meant all the world. He and I remain in friendly contact, despite our differences, and I offer him my own best wishes as his own first play, Satchmo at the Waldorf, opens at the Long Wharf Theatre this fall.