Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The new compressionism

An ugly phrase, I know, but its what Michael Billington in The Guardian calls the fashion for ever-shorter plays. Is the trend for 90-minute theatre hurting theatre?
I am not asking for a standard structure or a return to the days of the two-interval play. But what I miss is the polyphonic richness of which drama is capable, or the complexities of character revealed by an unfolding narrative. One reason why people are flocking to Don Carlos is that it provides exactly the kind of stimulus so much modern drama lacks: exploration of ideas through character, examination of the manifold selves that make up individuals, the thrilling collision of private and public worlds.

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