Howard Sherman is requesting your assistance in compiling a list — or, really, a list-of-lists — of the “Ten Most Important Contemporary Plays,” specifying plays written since 1987. There are no constraints as to language or country, although it is surprising to learn in the comments that nearly all of them are American or British and in the English language. All right, maybe not so surprising.
In the “And-Everything-Is-Going-Fine Dept.” there are several entries this week. At the Los Angeles Times, Charles McNulty is cheered by what he perceives as a new dawn for the contemporary American drama on Broadway. Over at HowlRound, Lauren Gunderson is distressed by what she perceives as a prejudice against new plays in some recent remarks by Carey Perloff, but Perloff responds in the comments to offer her enthusiastic agreement. Which leaves us with little to talk about, according to J. Holtham: “What’s going on that requires comment, discussion, dissection?” he says. “There was the Guthrie contretemps, but that seems to have resolved itself nicely. The NY theatre season announcements have actually been fairly delightful, intriguing and interesting.” And all’s right, or at least not terribly wrong, with the world, apparently.
At the Guardian, though, all is not particularly well, at least when it comes to political theatre, says Matt Trueman, who takes vociferous issue with Dennis Kelly‘s recent speech “Political theatre is a complete fucking waste of time” at a Berlin drama festival. However, like Perloff, Kelly responds amiably in the comments, so maybe all is well there too. I offered my own thoughts on Kelly’s speech way back on 16 May.
I recently reactivated my Twitter account and continue to monitor my Facebook account … and why not? This is why not, according to Internet theorist Sherry Turkle writing at CNN. “We seem lonely but afraid of intimacy. Siri, the social network, digital assistants, all of these give the illusion of companionship without the demands of relationship. The path we are on seems fraught with paradox and about the most important human matters.”
Finally, Terry Teachout has posted a long, unsentimental, and touching essay about the last days of his mother, who passed away recently. As someone who lost both of his own parents within the last few years (my mother died just before Christmas 2011), it certainly rings true. I believe it’s in the third chapter of Ulysses that Stephen Dedalus conceives of individuals in history as telephone poles that run along the strand, experience stringing from each to each, and now that I have two children I suppose I’m finally one of those poles. Terry’s thoughtful essay is available here; I wrote about my own father’s death here.