Summer/Fall 1997 • Vol. XIX No. 3/4 NonfictionJuly 1, 1997 |

Notes about Political Theater

In his essay on Theodore Dreiser, E. L. Doctorow quotes Dreiser's critical description of himself as a young man: "Chronically nebulous, doubting, uncertain, I stared and stared at everything, only wondering, not solving." This is, Doctorow comments, "a perfect description of the state of readiness in a novelist." And, I might add, in playwrights, perhaps even more so. The art of playwriting is not fundamentally a narrative art like novel writing; it is dialogic, it proceeds from contradiction, not cause and effect; not "this happens and then this and then this," but more "This happened. Oh yeah? Who says so?" It is a cruel thing to ask playwrights to present themselves directly to audiences or readers, stripped of many layers of protection, production, interpretation with which we habitually accoutre ourselves. All of which is to say that I hope the following, which is an attempt to define what I mean when I say that I consider myself a writer of political theater, isn't to

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece



Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.

Read More

My Two Grandmothers

By André Béteille

In his essay on Theodore Dreiser, E. L. Doctorow quotes Dreiser's critical description of himself as a young man: "Chronically nebulous, doubting, uncertain, I stared and stared at everything, only […]

Subscribe

Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.

Donate

With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.